POVB - Body Scanner Update - Public Service Association

POVB – Body Scanner Update

At the request of CSNSW, POVB delegates from Long Bay, Amber Laurel, Shortland CC, Bathurst and South Coast along with POVB Acting Chair Keith Smith and Industrial Officer Jim Minns, attended the Departmental building at Strawberry Hills for a meeting concerning the use of body scanners in correctional facilities.

These delegates were:

Osman Zerdo

Ian McCluckie

David Halahala

Mitchell Jakins

Cameron Kennedy

Barry Butterfield

In attendance from the Department included A/C John Buckley, Dr Anne Marie Martin, Dir Employee Relations Michele O’Brien, Acting Custodial Director Faith Slatcher, A/C Craig Smith, General Manager Malcolm Brown and Michael Frawley.

Delegates were able to present a series of 32 questions and concerns. These questions ranged from issues regarding inadequacy of training when using the scanners to the risks associated with a lack of training. In addition, the questions covered the liability of officers when facing a coronial enquiry from contraband that may be missed from a scan.

The robust discussion culminated in a series of proposed outcomes posed by the delegates, which are non-exhaustive and may not reflect the broader view of every centre.

It was conceived that these outcomes, should they be agreed to by CSNSW, would go a long way in making Prison Officers more comfortable in operating body scanners going forward.

The propositions were as follows:

  1. CSNSW consider a reduced radiation reading on the scanners to be ‘skin deep’ only. This then allows the scanners to act as a strip search device without requiring the officers to be trained in diagnostic imaging.
  2. More adequate training to be implemented in consultation with the union – to able to read diagnostic images correctly.
  3. Would CSNSW consider officers operating scanning machines to be precluded from misconduct proceedings.
  4. Adjustment to the COPP to address the ‘second opinion’ discrepancies by a member of the Centre management team.
  5. Is it still voluntary to get a 142 license?

At the conclusion of the meeting, as a means of achieving a resolution between the members and the Department – Dr Martin agreed to consider a reduction on the radiation of the scanners so that they monitor the body ‘skin deep’ until such time as an enhanced training regime is introduced in consultation with the union.

It is the expectation of the Department that should they agree to this option, the union would actively consider this option and remove the work ban on scanners.

The PSA will update members when we get a response from the Department.


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