Carnarvon condemned_ by gabyion


									      by dave Lampard
field officer safety

   Carnarvon condemned!
     Lack of security, unsafe work conditions, no alarms, overcrowding, roof leaks, no change
     lockers, temporary lock-up unfinished ….

          arnarvon police station should be                     The station has been earmarked
          condemned by health authorities                     for replacement for at least the past
          and should be subject to a prohi-                   decade but nothing has progressed due
   bition order by Worksafe.                                  to continuing disagreement between
      That is the inescapable conclusion I                    the relevant government agencies, the
   formed after visiting the station at the                   Carnarvon shire and the private sector.
   end of last month following consistent                     Put simply, the sticking point lies in
   and long-running complaints from                           the fact that the current Police Station/
   members about its overall sub-standard                     Courthouse sits on a very valuable piece
   safety and accommodation.                                  of land.
      The station’s accommodation as a
   workplace is unbelievably bad as are                              The station is so
   other aspects affecting officer safety as                     overcrowded that there
   well as deficiencies in safety standards for                  is inadequate room for
   members of the public having business                        police to work efficiently.
   at the station and offenders placed in the
   station’s cells.                                              The matter is such a hot local topic
                                                              that the town’s newspaper is running
                                                              a survey to gauge the public’s view on       Plastic bags and sheets are the preferred treatment
                                                                                                           for rain leaks at Carnavon police station. The picture
                                                              where they would like their new police/      shows a plastic lined bin atop a filing cabinet to
                                                              court complex built.                         catch some of the water while to the left black
                                                                 Staff toilets and change facilities are   plastic “protects” important court documents.
                                                              50 years out of date. The present station
                                                                                                           to work efficiently. The poor design
                                                              has water leaking through the roof into
                                                                                                           of the front reception leaves the CSO
                                                              the solitary female staff toilet which is
                                                                                                           and other staff vulnerable, making it
                                                              used by five female officers and one
                                                                                                           a totally unsafe working environment.
                                                              female CSO. A notice on the door warns
                                                                                                           Lack of any security is apparent at the
                                                              against using the ceiling light when
                                                              it is raining as water flows into its        very entrance to the facility with the
                                                              fluorescent light fitting. This alone is     front foyer and counter area presenting
                                                              incredibly dangerous.                        no barrier to the public making it a
                                                                 The unisex change room is cramped         totally unsafe work environment.
                                                              and there is no space for any personal          Security overall is totally deficient
                                                              lockers. Also, the room has a substantial    with no perimeter security for the
                                                              leak in the roof which is currently          complex which includes the court house
                                                              controlled by a waste basket with a          and lockup.
                                                              plastic liner.                                  Some of the deficiencies could be
   The signs on the female toilet say it all – if you avoid
   electrocution, watch out that you don’t slip and fall         The station is so overcrowded that        seen as laughably inadequate if the
   on the flooded floor.                                      there is inadequate room for police          matters were not serious. For example,

    6 WA Police News August 2007
Union Field Officer Safety Dave Lampard with incoming OIC Sen Sgt Brian Jefferies discuss safety risks in the open front counter area of Carnarvon police station.

the OC spray after-care facilities consists                  upwards of $500,000 to add a set of                           cover all contingences that arise when
of a plastic bucket, plastic chair and                       temporary (compliant) holding cells at                        running a three panel roster 24/7.
recently installed garden hose.                              the rear of the existing lockup. Lodging                         Staff resources will be further stretched
   The old lockup keeper’s house which                       prisoners in these new cells will create                      with the closure of the station at
now accommodates Carnarvon detectives                        safety problems for officers and inmates                      Gascoyne Junction and Carnarvon now
crammed into it is as sub-standard as                        alike given that the new cells are only                       having responsibility for this additionl
the station and should similarly be                          accessible through the maze of the old                        area.
condemned. There is no alarm system                          lockup passageways. This new $500,000                            It is remarkable, indeed outrageous
or security screens on windows which                         temporary lock-up facility after some                         that the Police administration has
leaves the building vulnerable. As with                      months remains uncompleted with                               allowed this situation to continue for
the police station, the roof leaks causing                   some services not finished.                                   so long.
staff to use plastic sheeting to protect                        In summer, the cells are oppressively                         Having inspected the police centre
important court documents and other                          hot (only two are air conditioned)                            at Carnarvon, I had no hesitation in
files from water damage.                                     which puts additional pressure on                             condemning the entire complex as an
   The Carnarvon lockup is in a very                         officers to maintain a peaceful lockup                        unsafe and unserviceable workplace for
poor, unsafe condition. The pressures                        environment.                                                  our members.
on the lockup facility are increased given                      Adding to the problem, the station                            Time to act Commissioner – time to
that it is not only used for the normal                      does not have sufficient staff to properly                    get involved and make things happen.
town policing purposes but also has to
double as a holding post for the transfer
of prisoners between Roebourne and
Greenough prisons in both directions.
Such transit prisoners are in the care of
the private company, AIMS, which has
been contracted by the Government to
undertake this work.
   Prisoner transfers occur on a regular
basis, with the AIMS group lodging
their prisoners in the cells on Tuesdays
and Wednesdays of each week. With
20 prisoners coming or going on
those days, it is not surprising that this
arrangement places additional pressure
on the staff at the station and using cells
other than the compliant ones used by
police officers.
   Due to indecision and procrastination,
the Government has had to spend                              As there is no other space available, the operations manager's office has to double as an equipment room.

                                                                                                                                        WA Police News August 2007 7

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