Detention centre concerns dismissed

The five-month-old centre, intended to be a humane service for people accused of a crime but mentally unfit to stand trial, has attracted widespread community concern.

Ms Morton said they would complete an internal security review of the centre following the escape of two of three detainees on New Year’s Eve but maintained the facility was in the “ideal” location. She also said more security staff had been hired.

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly and 12 Lockridge residents presented a list of requests to the Government but said the minister had ruled out a review of the centre’s long-term viability in the current location, disappointing residents.

“The additional security measures that were suggested I think are just sensible – notify the community if there’s an escape, give a description, release a photo, what would normally happen when people escape from a custodial facility,” he said.

Mr Kelly said the location breached criteria as it was across the road from homes, 400m from Lockridge Primary School and did not have the support of the City of Swan.

However, Ms Morton said a review would be more appropriate in two to three years as it had only been running for five months and the location met the Government’s key criteria.

“Close proximity means they were sharing neighbouring walls for example, if they were neighbouring facilities with schools or neighbours’ homes,” she said. “Some of the other facilities we looked at had distances less than these distances; this is the facility that best met all the criteria that we set out.”

She said the number of detainees would increase over the coming months.

Lockridge resident Yvonne Caldwell said the centre would be more suited to people who needed permanent or temporary respite, not for people who had broken the law.

“They should put this facility, for these types of people, where we said originally, 4km up the road at Bandyup,” Ms Caldwell said.

“We’re not insensitive, it’s not that we don’t like them, it’s just we don’t want them across the road.” Ms Morton will meet with residents again on January 20 and provide a written response to their concerns.