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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3041 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Last year I announced that custodial officers appointed under the Remand Centres Act 1976 would replace police officers in securing detainees and prisoners. From early this year custodial officers in the Corrective Services' Court Transport Unit have provided detainee security at ACT courts and escorted detainees and prisoners to and from the courts, Belconnen Remand Centre, Quamby Youth Detention Centre, and other places in the Territory and interstate.

Currently custodial officers are providing these services under the direction of the superintendent of the Belconnen Remand Centre, with legal authority being conferred by virtue of their temporary commission as special members of the Australian Federal Police. These commissions will expire on 31 December this year.

The Custodial Escorts Bill has been developed to provide authority for custodial officers to take temporary custody of persons who have been lawfully detained and undertake escort services in respect of those people. This could occur where a person has been arrested by police and refused police bail. Police are under a duty to bring such a person before a magistrate as soon as possible. Under the new provisions police will be able to give custody of an arrested person to an escort officer to convey the arrested person to court. The escort will be vested with custody of the arrested person for this purpose.

The legislation is intended to make the best use of resources in tasking custodial officers with these functions while freeing up AFP officers to undertake policing activities. Of course, if the police consider that there are good reasons, such as the potential dangerousness of a particular detainee, for police undertaking the escort functions in respect of that detainee, that will still be possible.

The legislation will also enable courts to direct orders for persons to be conveyed to the Belconnen Remand Centre to escorts, rather than police. The legislation provides escort officers with appropriate powers to carry out escort functions, including powers to search persons under escort and use such force as is necessary and reasonable to retain the secure custody of the person. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.00): Mr Speaker, I present the Custodial Escorts (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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