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CCC missing in action on jails: top cop
CCC missing in action on jails: top cop

WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has accused the Corruption and Crime Commission of going missing in action - claiming the watchdog had failed to respond to "significant" corruption within the State's prisons.

Mr O'Callaghan said police repeatedly requested CCC help to investigate issues identified in jails but those requests appeared to fall on deaf ears. Even written requests were not responded to.

"We have expressed concerns about corruption in the prison system and we expected them to do something about that, but as far as I know, well I don't know what is being done," he said.

_The West Australian _revealed this week that the special police task force Operation Ulysses found jails awash with drugs. There was also evidence of prison staff facilitating the drug flow.

As a result, Mr O'Callaghan was asked to set up a dedicated prison squad to continue the task force's work. But the Commissioner said he did not see why police should be asked to do a job the CCC was paid to do.

"Public officials are their responsibility when they are engaged in corrupt activity," Mr O'Callaghan said. "They are resourced to do it and should do it."

In a statement last night, CCC director of operations Kim Papalia rejected the criticism.

He said targeting corruption in jails was a high priority for the commission, which investigated 26 allegations of serious misconduct by jail staff since January last year. Some of those investigations were continuing.

"The commission established a comprehensive strategy aimed at the department in 2012 which focuses on three specific concerns: trafficking contraband into prisons, inappropriate relationships between prison officers and criminals, and the use of force against prisoners," Mr Papalia said.

Ulysses police began investigating drugs in jails seven months ago after Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis expressed concern about corruption within his department.

Mr O'Callaghan said officers identified significant concerns early in the inquiry and his deputy Chris Dawson put those concerns in writing to the CCC but had not had an answer.

"He (Chris Dawson) has been up and down the street trying to get them to do something about it," Mr O'Callaghan said.

"I know he has been concerned enough to send letters up there for assistance. I haven't got a response and he hasn't got one."

The West Australian

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