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High comedy continues over the prison – Police hunt for leakers

By johnboy - 18 March 2009 29

[First filed: March 17, 2009 @ 09:36]

The Canberra Times has an intriguing story about John Hargreaves calling in the police to protect the “integrity” of the non-functional security system at the prisoner free prison (aka the Alexander Maconochie Centre).

    ”I know the information [the reporter] has received contains a specificity that compromises the safety of the officers, prisoners and the community.”

    He said that even if a Government employee had leaked information out of frustration or dissatisfaction with his employer, it was not reflective of the rest of the staff involved in the prison project.

UPDATED: The Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson is making merry with this news:

    “I am very concerned that someone has deemed it necessary to provide this information to the media. It would appear that the individual concerned has felt that it is necessary to alert the public through the media rather than raise concerns with the Minister or the Department.

    “It appears that because Mr Hargreaves has been further embarrassed by someone in his own department and he is now using the AFP investigation as a tool to silence dissent.

    “The AFP investigation of an alleged leak should not be used by the Minister as an attempt to distract from the main issue, which is his Government’s appalling management of the AMC. Mr Hargreaves must assure the community that this is not simply an attempt by him to cover up yet more problems that have been uncovered at the AMC.” Jeremy Hanson said today.

UPDATED: Colonel Hanson is taking another swing calling for some transparency before we trust prisoners to this farce:

    “I am calling for an independent security assessment of the AMC to be conducted before any prisoners are transferred to the centre.

    “If the latest allegations about security failures at the AMC are accurate; they are just the latest in a long line of faults for this project…

    “I have lost confidence in Mr Hargraves’ ability to run his portfolio competently. I can no longer trust any assurance made by him that the prison will be secure when it is finally opened.

    “The community must be assured that the AMC is safe for both corrections officers and the community. An assessment should be made by an independent expert who has been ratified and reports to the Assembly’s Justice and Community Services committee.

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29 Responses to
High comedy continues over the prison – Police hunt for leakers
Mike Crowther 5:58 pm 17 Mar 09

Parklea was an ‘electronic cutting edge’ prison when it opened back in 80’s. It would need less staff and prevent escapes and all the other promises that only pre-elections can provide. Over time the whizz-bang security broke down and the place had its fair share of escapes. They eventually went back to relying on a combination of static (wire/walls/cameras etc) AND Dynamic (adequate staffing/case management/structured days etc) security. Lesson learned.

The problem in the ACT is that there is no corporate memory in this field. It’s going to be a very, very expensive learning curve.

sepi 4:48 pm 17 Mar 09

ACT govt is always trying to be a groundbreaker – like the proposed touchscreens at busstops – what happened to those?

Not that I’m mourning their loss – it was a ridiculous idea to spend money on frills like that when they lack basics like enough busses.

They should totally just go with proven technoogy, and as simple as possible.

Gungahlin Al 4:42 pm 17 Mar 09

There’s the thing with whistleblowing. Usually only happens when there’s something wrong that needs exposure. No problems = no leaks.

What the hell is it about Canberra that things always have to be latest greatst unproven technology? Defence have project failure via this approach down to a fine art. Instead of learning from the local example, ACT Corrections go slavishly following it.

Here’re some tips: 1/ learn the difference between cutting edge and bleeding edge; 2/ buy crap off the shelf after someone else has had the fun of sorting out the wrinkles.

p1 3:44 pm 17 Mar 09

Perhaps a moat full of large crocs would be cheaper then what they are doing now?

miz 3:25 pm 17 Mar 09

Go the whistleblower. After all, technology is fallible and should be seen as such. I sincerely hope they are going with proper security backups, like daddy mentioned above (if they had those, the prison would be occupied already).

(And the obvious principle of the fallibility of technology goes double for the mooted toilet to tap water plant).

proofpositive 2:50 pm 17 Mar 09

The CT typically lacks the balls to do any real reporting. this is not surprising given that they rely on the ACT government to keep them afloat with advertising revenue. IF you have a story you report it. IF there is a security problem the ACT government fixes it. The minister for alcoholic beverages and corrective services is looking for a scapegoat.

Thumper 2:12 pm 17 Mar 09

They had this security system of big steel doors, 3cm think bars and great big padlocks. All this watched over by big guys in uniforms and surrounded by really high walls with barbed wire on top.

Stange isn’t it how the old ways sometimes seem to work the best.

daddy 2:06 pm 17 Mar 09

had an opportunity to be in Goulburn Max security as a visitor many years ago.

They had this security system of big steel doors, 3cm think bars and great big padlocks. All this watched over by big guys in uniforms and surrounded by really high walls with barbed wire on top.

Apparently none of the inmates ever wanted to go back in again … and everybody knew how the system worked

Clown Killer 11:51 am 17 Mar 09

I’ve been unfortunate enough to be involved in a number of leak investigations held by the AFP. If this effort is anything like my experiance with the APS, there’ll be a report prepared for the Minister and chances are there’ll be no further action … because the finding will be that the leak came from within the Minsiters office or from within the office of a colleage.

Skidbladnir 10:59 am 17 Mar 09

Way to not address a core problem which is in the public interest, by hiding any investigation behind ‘not in the public interest to disclose’, Mr Hargreaves.

If anyone is offering odds, I will put a dollar on a single mid-level public servant eventually getting terminated after a quiet internal investigation, no process reviews or impact to any agency heads, and there will be no significant change to the security system because the ‘single instance of this disclosure did not harm the operation of the system’ or somesuch.

Spectra 10:47 am 17 Mar 09

As caf says, this points to a classic case of “security through obscurity” which pretty much anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about will tell you is about the worst way to secure anything. Why? Because as this shows, sooner or later someone will either say something they shouldn’t, or else someone will simply discover it by themselves.

If only we had a decent opposition in this town, a government this incompetent would have been out on its ear long ago.

Gobbo 10:46 am 17 Mar 09

caf said :

Also John Hargreaves and Colonel Sanders – has anyone seen them in the same room at the same time?

Nooooo. That is completely wrong. The Colonel died years ago.

It’s Uncle Arthur you have confused him with.

Granny 10:22 am 17 Mar 09

I have never seen them in the same room at the same time, caf! I think you’re on to something ….

: D

Reprobate 10:18 am 17 Mar 09

That’s right John, allocate police resources to find someone who embarrasses the Govt, shoot the messenger, then lock them up in gaol; well, if we had one…

caf 9:54 am 17 Mar 09

If the security of the system relies on the details of the system remaining secret, then it is a fragile security that would have been eventually broken anyway.

Also John Hargreaves and Colonel Sanders – has anyone seen them in the same room at the same time?

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