Sheriffs at risk from old radios

Sheriffs at risk from old radios

SHERIFF officers fear being seriously injured on the job because their portable radios are outdated and often do not work in dangerous situations.

A health and safety representative raised concerns about the reliability of the radio systems with the Department of Justice in November 2011 and issued five provisional improvement notices.

The notices said the radio systems did not accurately locate a sheriff when they needed help and were unable to send duress calls at all times.

''This has resulted in the communication centre failing to identify the location of an officer in need of assistance once the duress system is activated,'' one notice said.

Sheriff officers have also struggled to call for assistance when executing warrants in high-rise buildings because the radios have to be in range of their cars.

The Community and Public Sector Union said it had asked the department to upgrade the radios and asked WorkSafe to investigate the non-compliance with the notices.


''There is a lot of anger and resentment out there,'' the union's occupational health and safety officer, Carl Marsich, said.

''We thought the department was going to upgrade the communication systems. It seemed a very logical and reasonable thing to ask for.''

He said the upgrade would improve security for sheriff officers, who come into contact with many people with criminal records. ''We have had a number of near misses - the risk is always there. You try to protect against all those risks.''

The union has told sheriff officers to conduct LEAP checks on defendants and wants them to work in pairs more frequently as an interim measure.

A Department of Justice spokesman said the health and safety of sheriffs was of utmost importance.

''The Sheriff's Office has been working co-operatively and constructively with WorkSafe and workforce health and safety representatives on issues that have been raised, including revising safety and security procedures.''

Most Viewed in Technology


Morning & Afternoon Newsletter

Delivered Mon–Fri.

By signing up you accept our privacy policy and conditions of use