Technlogy boosts crackdown on contraband

Issued: Thursday, 30 June 2016

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Correctional officers are trialling body-worn video cameras to enable the quick and accurate collection of evidence and to record their interactions with inmates.

A contraband raid involving the new technology at Silverwater’s Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre last night netted mobile-phone SIM-cards, tobacco and a small quantity of illicit drugs.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott said the small camera is attached to the front of an officer’s uniform and records interactions and incidents to gather audio and visual evidence.

“People behave differently when they are on film and we hope the footage collected from these cameras will not only support and protect officers but also act as a deterrent,” Mr Elliott said.

Immediate Action Team and Security Operations Group (SOG) officers at Silverwater are trialling the cameras for two months, and if found to be successful they could be rolled out to other custodial officers.

SOG officers carry out contraband raids and respond to major critical incidents, including escape attempts and any situation where trained negotiators are required.

Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said the body-worn cameras eliminate the need for officers to carry hand-held cameras and are already in place during a spontaneous incident.

“The technology also protects officers from allegations of assault when force is appropriate, and could potentially deter unruly or offensive behaviour,” Commissioner Severin said.

During searches at the state’s prisons between 1 July and 31 May this year, SOG officers seized 36 phones and 24 SIM-cards hidden in inmates’ electrical appliances, toilets, mattresses and common areas.

To download video and photographs of search operations, visit https://spaces.hightail.com/space/9F3q8 and https://spaces.hightail.com/space/eQASV