The 12-hour riot, at Townsville’s Cleveland Youth Detention Centre
on November 10, was sparked when a football game was cancelled.
Inmates then armed themselves with makeshift weapons and threatened staff before climbing on to a roof and causing more than $145,000 worth of damage.
Four staff members were injured, one losing sight in his left eye. Others are experiencing ongoing psychological impacts.
A subsequent investigation by the Office of the Chief Inspector found that unprepared staff failed to follow workplace plans, lacked training and were slow to respond when violence broke out.
The report said that despite being heavily outnumbered, staff failed to call for help, didn’t properly follow procedures or have enough Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety. Some didn’t know how to use the equipment.
“There was insufficient PPE for all responding staff; not all responding staff who were issued with this PPE were training in or familiar with this equipment and there was no clear operations or tactical direction given to staff regarding its use,” it said.
“Deficits in training meant staff were not adequately prepared and equipped to safety quell the incident.”
The report made six recommendations, including a review of workplace culture, stronger safety and security measures and the acknowledgement that ambulance and police must be called in when the safety of staff is threatened.
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A major riot in a youth detention centre could have been avoided if staff had better training, a report has found.