Police union threatens industrial action if court security is not increased

Midland Magistrate’s Court.
Midland Magistrate’s Court.

THE WA Police Union said it would take industrial action if changes were not made to the security arrangements in magistrates courts in smaller centres such as Midland.

WA Union president George Tilbury said he spoke to Attorney General Michael Mischin immediately after the incident at the Joondalup Court on December 16, during which a woman died in a mediation room.

Mr Tilbury said after the incident that the union’s worst fears had been realised with a person killed in a court complex.

“We have been warning about the lack of security at courts for years,” he said.

“Officers arrested a man who allegedly used a knife to kill a woman known to him while also putting their lives at unacceptable risk. The officers were at court to give evidence in a case.”

Mr Tilbury said police officers were free to go anywhere in the State in full uniform, except courts.

“This incident clearly shows that courts should not be an exception,” he said.

New South Wales police officers are fully armed in courts and in Victoria, everyone must pass through a body and metal scan before entering the courts.

Mr Tilbury said it was unfortunate that Mr Mischin had chosen to review the court procedures in lieu of immediately implementing changes to the security system.

“Metal detectors should be installed in all metropolitan complexes along with the necessary budget allocation,” he said.

Mr Tilbury said he also approached Chief Justice Wayne Martin, who agreed all people entering court complexes should walk through metal detectors.

“He raised this issue with the AG in September 2015 and it was knocked back and he has recently written again to the Department requesting an urgent review of the decision,” he said.

Mr Tilbury said police officers needed to be fully armed in court complexes so they had the capability to respond to any incidents which may arise.

A spokesperson for Mr Mischin’s office said the Attorney General expected to receive a report by the end of January into the review of security arrangements for all WA courts, which was underway currently.