The initial response by Banksia Hill staff to the three detainees being ‘out of bounds’ was both timely and appropriate. Clear direction was provided by the Shift Manager to instigate a lock down of other detainees and activate the Primary Response Team (PRT). The Director of Youth Custodial Services and other centre management staff were notified and assistance was requested from the Emergency Support Group (ESG). At this point all staff had a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities in addressing the incident.

Approximately 15 minutes after the three detainees had absconded from their unit, the incident took on an unanticipated complexity. The detainees assisted another detainee to break out of his cell through the external glass window using debris and rocks that were available outside his cell. Five minutes later they assisted another detainee to break out of his cell using similar methods. The situation snowballed with more and more detainees breaking out of their cells.

After the first assisted break out, the Shift Manager assessed this increased risk and determined external assistance was required. He had already called for assistance from the ESG, but also requested assistance from the police to provide external perimeter security, in the event of an escape attempt.

For staff safety reasons, and to ensure facility keys carried by staff were not compromised, the Shift Manager decided to withdraw staff from the units to the staff amenities building. This was carried out efficiently, with some staff evacuating themselves and others being assisted by the PRT. Once all staff had gathered in the staff amenities building and were accounted for, the PRT formed a cordon around the building.