Bunbury prison guards stood down – one charged

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Two Bunbury Regional Prison guards were stood down a week ago.
Camera IconTwo Bunbury Regional Prison guards were stood down a week ago. Credit: WA News

WA Corrective Services officials have warned that drugs will not be tolerated in jails and users “will be caught” in the wake of two Bunbury Regional Prison guards being stood down.

The two guards were stood down and one was charged by police following the alleged discovery of drugs and alcohol in a drug blitz at the facility a week ago.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman could not reveal what contraband the guards were allegedly caught with, but confirmed they had been relieved of duty.

“Two officers have been stood down from duty, one of whom has been charged by WA Police ... the other two matters have been referred to the department’s Professional Standards Division,” the spokeswoman said.

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“The Department of Justice does not tolerate drug use and has had increased success with a new targeted, intelligence-led approach to drug searching and testing.”

WA Police confirmed a 37-year-old man from the prison had been charged with one count of conveying any article into prison.

The Department of Justice spokeswoman said the “discovery of drug and alcohol use” was a result of the department’s new drug strategy, aimed at anyone who worked, visited or was detained in prisons.

“Drug and contraband searching and testing is carried out through random and intelligence-led methods and is proving highly successful,” she said.

“We are proud to say that the vast majority of our staff do the right thing and they do not tolerate behaviour by others that would bring their profession into disrepute.”

“We are committed to a robust and balanced approach to tackling drugs in prison with initiatives including waste water drug monitoring, a review of the penalties and sanctions for trafficking drugs to ensure they are a sufficient deterrent and increasing the number of drug detection dogs across the prison estate.”

Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan also said drugs and drug users would not be tolerated in the State’s prisons and more resources were being put into the “ongoing fight to eliminate this scourge”.

“I have been to Bunbury Regional Prison on numerous occasions and the staff down there are doing an excellent job,” Mr Logan said.

“Those few who do the wrong thing do not represent the majority and this intelligence-led searching and testing regime is proving more effective and rigorous than the previous approach”.

“There are further measures planned to increase our efforts at detecting drugs or drug users in our jails so I would warn anyone whether they are staff, prisoners or visitors that you will be caught.”

WA Prison Officer’s Union secretary Andy Smith said the union supported the department’s drug strategy.

“Including random testing and charging those found in possession or under the influence of drugs in WA prisons,” Mr Smith said.

“We have made it clear that we do not condone drug use by our officers on any level.

“Our members are professionals who play an important role serving the WA community in a very dangerous environment.

“We support the view that our members should not have to work alongside anyone who could endanger their safety, including officers under the influence of drugs.”

The charged prison officer is due to appear in Bunbury Magistrates Court next month.

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