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Don't send in dog squad, Manus security chief warned department

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National security correspondent

View more articles from David Wroe

Killed in the riots: Reza Barati.

Killed in the riots: Reza Barati. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The Immigration Department was warned by its own Manus Island security firm as deadly riots were breaking out to abandon a proposed "demonstration of force" by a police dog squad, leaked emails show.

On the evening of February 16, as tensions mounted, G4S immigration services manager Chris Manning emailed the department raising concerns about a plan to have the Papua New Guinean police "mobile squad" walk through the centre with dogs.

"I'm led to believe from the island it is planned to walk the new PNG Mobile Squad Police Dog(s) through the Centre tomorrow morning at 10am," he wrote. "G4S believes this is an inappropriate demonstration of force in a Centre, and is inconsistent with the security requirements of the G4S contract.

"G4S wishes to place on record it does not support this deployment and it feels that the use of dogs of this nature inside a processing centre is inappropriate and unwarranted."

And he warned: "We believe such a deployment may cause harm to those transferees vulnerable from stress and trauma suffered under persecution in the past, and urge the department to review this decision.''

The revelations come as a Senate committee prepares to hold hearings next week into the violence.

An assistant secretary from the department, Simon Schiwy, replied thanking Mr Manning for the email and asking him to let the department know of "any changes in viewpoints, given tonight's events".

Fairfax Media understands the walk-through went ahead the following evening through the "green zone" between Mike and Foxtrot compounds.

Shortly afterwards, detainees pushed over a fence. The violence, including the killing of Iranian asylum-seeker Reza Barati, followed.

Responding to Fairfax inquiries on Friday, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said: “All relevant maters were considered by the Cornall report. It provides an honest and detailed account of the events that occurred and of those leading up to the incident.”

Mr Morrison released the report by Robert Cornall on May 26.

A spokesman for the Minister said "All relevant maters were considered by the Cornall report. It provides an honest and detailed account of the events that occurred and of those leading up to the incident."

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