Union wants prisoner transport probe
Union wants prisoner transport probe

As police counted the cost of the second large manhunt for an escaped prisoner in a fortnight, questions were being asked about how Bradley McIntosh-Narrier could have escaped Serco guards.

WA Prison Officers Union secretary John Welch yesterday called for a public inquiry into the provision of prisoner transport in WA.

Mr Welch said the public deserved answers, including how McIntosh-Narrier, who was wearing leg shackles, managed to escape through the roof of a toilet at Joondalup Health Campus without guards noticing.

He said he believed the guards would have been able to intervene had they been armed with batons and pepper spray.

"Prison officers who are acting as escorts for maximum security prisoners, particularly to hospitals, should have access to pepper spray and batons," Mr Welch said.

"That would have allowed them to intervene and deal with this situation without it getting out of hand.

"It clearly is a concern a maximum security prisoner was able to brandish a weapon and the staff did not have a response."

An immediate order for more restraints to be used on prisoners under escort was issued within hours of McIntosh-Narrier's escape from custody on Friday.

The directive, from Serco Asia-Pacific chief executive Mark Irwin and Corrective Services Commissioner James McMahon, included prisoners being secured to an officer or a secure fixed point when privacy is required.

Mr Irwin said Serco was working with the department on urgent revision of procedures and had recommended the extra restraint be added to the equipment for prisoner escort.

A Serco spokesman said last night that an inquiry into the escape was continuing.

On Saturday, Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said he believed the guards made the "right call" when they shut McIntosh- Narrier in the bathroom after he ripped a hand rail off the wall and allegedly threatened them with it.

Mr Welch said Mr Francis' comments indicating procedure had been followed showed the policies in place at the time were inadequate.

Shadow corrective services minister Paul Papalia said the Government was in "complete denial" about Serco's failures. "Without an independent inquiry, nothing the Barnett Government or Serco says carries any weight," he said.

The West Australian

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