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SSC to undertake inquiry into handling of ERU

Hon Paul Swain
03 November 2003

Swain asks State Services Commission to undertake inquiry into handling of Emergency Response Unit

The Corrections Minister Paul Swain has asked the State Services Commissioner to undertake an inquiry into the Department of Corrections' handling of the Emergency Response Unit in Canterbury.

"I have asked the State Services Commissioner to undertake this inquiry because of the continuing allegations and criticism of the Department's handling of the issues arising from the Canterbury Emergency Response Unit (the so-called Goon Squad)," says Mr Swain.

The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) was established in July 1999.

It was dis-established in July 2000 when the national framework for prison staffing was implemented.

In August 2000 allegations were made that staff in the unit had behaved inappropriately.

"The department has carried out its own inquiries into this matter and disciplinary action has been taken."

"However, there has continued to be a high level of interest in this matter and many serious allegations have been made."

"It is important that the public has confidence in this department, which does a lot of good work for the community. I have therefore asked the State Services Commissioner to conduct an external inquiry into this matter, under the provisions of the State Sector Act 1988."

"The State Services Commissioner is preparing his Terms of Reference, which I expect to be available later this week, and is to appoint a suitability qualified person to undertake the inquiry on his behalf.

"I look forward to receiving the inquiry report, which I intend to publicly release," says Mr Swain.

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