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Detention centre risk known
Police search for the Banksia Hill escapees. Picture: Ben Crabtree, The West Australian

Security concerns about Banksia Hill Detention Centre, from where two inmates were involved in a violent escape this week, were raised at a public rally in June attended by then Corrective Services minister Terry Redman, according to a union leader.

There were also claims that an anti-ramming shield at the facility was not working when the escapees smashed through a roller door using a stolen 4WD. The revelations come as the State Government ordered an urgent investigation and the suburb of Embleton was locked down when the escapees were suspected of trying to steal a car yesterday afternoon.

Community and Public Sector Union-Civil Service Association secretary Toni Walkington said it was no secret that inmates had breached security around a construction site at the juvenile prison leading up to the breakout.

"Some of the members talked to the minister before the June meeting and spoke about the fact that detainees had been hurling bricks at them and that some of the detainees had got access to the building site," Ms Walkington said.

Mr Redman has since been replaced as Corrective Services minister by Murray Cowper, who said yesterday he was "deeply concerned" about the escape.

"A full investigation is necessary to determine how they were able to get access to a vehicle and escape," Mr Cowper said.

Before stealing the Toyota Hilux, it is alleged that Christopher Meredith, 18, and Peter Robert Garlett, 17, assaulted a construction worker who was employed on the Banksia Hill expansion project.

Ms Walkington said the escape had been foreseen and her members were demanding answers from Mr Cowper.

The detention centre will take in about 90 extra inmates from the Rangeview Remand Centre later this year and the union is concerned that the security issues will worsen.

Shadow corrective services minister Fran Logan said the Government did not need an inquiry because it already knew what went wrong.

"It's obvious what happened and the problem was known to the minister beforehand," he said.

"The problem was security around the construction site. As for an inquiry into why the anti-ramming device wasn't working, why not just get a tradesman to fix it?"

Mr Cowper said a range of measures were already in place because of the construction site concerns but a further security audit would be done.