Operation Safe Centres search uncovers dangerous stash

Razorblades and makeshift weapons are among a number of items seized during an intensive search at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney as part of an ongoing nationwide operation.

Seventy-seven razor blades, three shivs and 16 smoking implements were seized along with a handwritten note listing firearm parts and prices. Nine smart phones with the capability to transmit data were also located in common areas of the centre.

The search is part of the Australian Border Force’s (ABF) Operation Safe Centres, designed to crack down on contraband in immigration detention centres and ensure the safety and good order of the facilities.

ABF Commander Vanessa Holben said activities like these have significantly contributed to safety in immigration detention centres, including fewer assaults, self-harm incidents and major disturbances over the past two years.

“Since assuming responsibility of the detention network in July 2015 the ABF has deployed sSuperintendents into detention facilities to work directly with service providers and ensure the welfare and safety of detainees, while also maintaining the security and integrity of the network,”Commander Holben said.

“While there has been a significant reduction in the number of detainees in Australian immigration detention over the plast two years there has also been an increase in the percentage of high-risk detainees, including those with significant criminal histories and links to criminal gangs. These operations are critical to ensure the safety of all detainees, staff and visitors to the centres.”

Operation Safe Centres searches are conducted without warning and are in addition to routine searches by the detention services provider, Serco. Additional resources such as detector dogs may be used and federal and state and territory police are involved as required.

As a result of these searches, more than 1100 items of contraband have been seized from within immigration detention facilities within the past 12 months.

Detainees who are found in possession of contraband may be referred to state police for further investigation and could face criminal charges.

Attribution: Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Article has not been edited.