In early 2018, our Commissioned Police Officers Branch initiated a campaign to end the practice of police transporting prisoners to and from courts, prisons and hospitals, both in metropolitan and regional areas.
This practice was draining resources and leaving some local communities without a police presence for extended periods of time.
The PANSW successfully lobbied for Section 33 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 to be amended to make it abundantly clear that Corrective Services Officers have sufficient powers to transport prisoners subject to a section 33 order.
After long and protracted conciliation at the Industrial Relations Commission with representatives of the NSW Police Force and Correctives Services in attendance, we successfully advocated for the implementation of numerous trials utilising Corrective Services NSW, AVL, and other solutions.
In December 2018 a three-month trial was implemented. As a result, Corrective Services NSW carried out many of the prisoner transports usually undertaken by police in one region. Police on paid overtime were used to transport prisoners in another sector. In the remaining Police Districts, the movement of prisoners by police, beyond their first Court appearance, were undertaken using non-First Response officers and, in their absence, by police on overtime.
Following positive feedback, on 27 February 2019 the Prisoner Transport trial was extended by another three months and subsequently formally reviewed by Deloitte.
These measures have significantly reduced the burden placed on frontline officers due to prisoner transports and enabled them to perform proactive policing duties.
The PANSW remains committed to rolling out more trial sites where Corrective Services can provide greater assistance with prisoner transports.