Villawood security to be reviewed
November 28, 2006 – 7:09AM
The Age (Melbourne)
Immigration officials will review security measures at Sydney's Villawood detention centre following a night of violence.
Five male detainees and an officer were taken to hospital with minor injuries after a flare-up about 9.30pm (AEDT) on Monday.
The outburst occurred during the transfer of seven people from a low security compound to one with high security.
The damages bill from broken furniture, chairs and windows was reportedly upwards of $15,000.
At one stage, a group of about 12 detainees took their protest to the roof of one building during the stand off.
A Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) spokeswoman said the centre was calm on Tuesday.
She said the men taken to hospital had been mainly treated for cuts to their hands and arms caused by broken glass.
The majority of them had now been released.
“While centre officials remain on alert, conditions at the centre are now calm,” the spokeswoman said.
“DIMA and (private operators) GSL will review security measures at Villawood to ensure such incidents do not reoccur.”
DIMA played down claims of increased tensions at the centre between asylum seekers and detainees with a criminal background.
Spokesman Sandi Logan said the majority of people in detention were illegal fishers, people who had overstayed or breached their visas or those who had come to the attention of police.
“We do have in all of our centres … a small group in each of those centres who do require fairly robust and tight security around their movements,” he told ABC Radio.
“We also have other parts of the centres, including residential housing … where detainees essentially live in the community and are on an honour system while they await their cases being processed.”
He said he had “total confidence” in the way the matter had been handled.