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Procedure Properties

Title: Search - Visitors
Category: Safety and Security
Version: 01
Implement Date: 28 August 2006
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public

Authority

Appendices and Forms

Procedures

Local Procedures

  • Woodford - Search - Visitors, staff and items (in-confidence)

Policies

  • Code of Conduct
  • Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)

Performance Measures

  • Nil

Procedure - Search - Visitors


Purpose
1.Process
2.Responsibilities of officers conducting searches
3.General search of a visitor
3.1High security facility
3.2Low security facility
4.Search of a visitor at the direction of a police officer
5.Search of accommodated children
6.Search and detention of persons suspected of offences
7.Preservation of evidence and disposal of seized property
8.Code of Conduct

Purpose

To provide a management and operational process for the conduct of searches that will contribute to the safety and security of corrective services facilities and the safety of persons within such facilities.

1. Process

Only those searches of visitors as prescribed under the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA) s 159 may be conducted by corrective services officers within corrective services facilities. Refer also Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)

2. Responsibilities of officers conducting searches

When conducting a search a corrective services officer must ensure that-

  1. reasonable care is taken to protect the dignity and self-respect of the person being searched and to ensure minimal embarrassment to the person, without impeding the effectiveness of the search;
  2. items seized during a search, where appropriate, will be preserved in accordance with the procedure - Preservation of a Crime Scene and Evidence and reported in accordance with the procedure - Incident Reporting; and
  3. when searching a visitor's property, care is exercised to avoid damage to the property.

3. General search of a visitor

The search of a visitor to a corrective services facility by a corrective services officer is restricted to a scanning search or a general search. Refer CSA s 159

All visitors to a high security facility must be subject to screening with a metal detector.

The chief executive or delegate may ask that a visitor be searched-

  1. by screening by an electronic drug detection device, and/or
  2. by screening by Passive Alert Drug Detection Dogs.

The only exceptions to the above are those people with a recognised medical condition that may react to electronic scanning devices. A visitor who refuses to submit to such a scan, screening or search may be dealt with in accordance with CSA s 159(3). Appropriate documentation must be maintained for all scan, screening and search activities.

3.1 High security facility

Visitors to prisoners who enter a high security facility may be required to submit to a scanning search and a general search where the visit is a contact visit. Refer CSA s 159

The chief executive or delegate may request an adult visitor who is responsible for an accompanying child, including an infant, that the child undergo a scanning and/or general search only.

Where an adult visitor, responsible for an accompanying child, refuses to give permission for the child to submit to a scanning and/or general search or to provide assistance for the child to be searched-

  1. neither the personal visitor nor any child accompanying the personal visitor may be permitted to proceed with a contact visit; and
  2. a non-contact visit may be approved where agreement to a scanning search of all parties is obtained.

3.2 Low security facility

The chief executive or delegate of a low security facility may require a visitor to submit to a scanning search or a general search before permitting the visitor to enter the facility or visit a prisoner.

If a visitor refuses to submit to a scanning search or a general search the visit may only proceed as a non-contact visit where agreement to a scanning search of all visitors is obtained. Where non-contact visit facilities are not available, the visit may be refused.

4. Search of a visitor at the direction of a police officer

Only officers of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have the discretionary power to determine if and when a search requiring the removal of clothing of a visitor to a facility is warranted.

Officers of the QPS have the legislative authority to conduct a search requiring the removal of clothing of a visitor. However, a person of the same gender as a visitor, may be directed by a police officer under Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (PPRA), s 382(2)(b) to conduct a search requiring the removal of clothing of the visitor if there is no police officer of the same sex available to conduct the search.

If a corrective services officer is directed by a police officer to conduct such a search of a visitor, the corrective services officer must ensure that the search is conducted in a manner that causes minimal embarrassment to, and protects the dignity of, the visitor.

The following method should be adopted when searching a visitor requiring the removal of clothing at the direction of a police officer-

  1. the visitor must be instructed to remove clothing except underclothes and may be allowed to remain partly clothed during the search, however all clothing, including shoes, must be searched;
  2. the visitor must face the officer and spread his/her arms and legs for a visual search;
  3. the visitor must spread all fingers and display both open hands at the same time, turning them over for inspection;
  4. the visitor must run his/her fingers through his/her hair;
  5. the visitor's mouth and ears must be inspected;
  6. the visitor must raise each foot and wiggle the toes;
  7. the visitor must be instructed to remove upper underclothes as follows-

    1. discretion may be used to allow the visitor to face away from the officer; and
    2. the upper underclothes must be searched and returned to the visitor who may put them on;

  8. the visitor must then be instructed to remove the lower underclothes as follows-

    1. discretion may be used to allow the visitor to face away from the officer; and
    2. the lower underclothes must be searched and returned to the visitor who may put them on; and

  9. the searched outer clothing must then be returned to the visitor who may put them on.

If an item of clothing is seized during this search, suitable replacement clothing must be provided.

All details of a search requiring the removal of clothing must be logged in the appropriate register.

When a corrective services officer is directed by a police officer to conduct a search requiring the removal of clothing of a visitor, the search must be recorded in a search register or log book with the directing police officer's name noted.

Refer administrative form - Example of a Search Register

5. Search of accommodated children

A child may only be required to undergo either a general search or a scanning search before entering the facility or returning to the facility after a visit or absence.

A child accommodated with a female prisoner must not be submitted to a personal search, or a search requiring the removal of clothing.

Refer CSA s 32; procedure - Accommodation of Children

6. Search and detention of persons suspected of offences

A person, other than a prisoner or a prisoner of the court, committing a security offence or who is believed to have committed a security offence may be searched in accordance with CSA s 136(2).

Where a search, other than a general or scanning search, appears to be justified, then the QPS will make a determination whether to do so under the PPRA.

7. Preservation of evidence and disposal of seized property

All articles, substances or things located during a search must be handled in accordance with the procedure - Preservation of a Crime Scene and Evidence and disposed of in accordance with CSA ss 138-142.

8. Code of Conduct

The chief executive or delegate will ensure that all personnel operating closed circuit television monitoring and other recording devices are instructed on, and acknowledge the intent of, the Queensland Corrective Services Code of Conduct or where appropriate, the code of conduct provided by an engaged service provider, and procedure - Use of Communication and Information Devices.





F P Rockett
Director-General





Version History

28/08/2006 Version 01