Incident footage and investigation recommendations

The Review made 83 recommendations. These have been sorted into work programs for implementation.

Our objectives

Sufficient evidence will be available to support accountable investigation processes to protect young people and staff.

Complaints processes will be transparent, independent and responsive to young people’s concerns.

We will provide support to young people throughout the complaints process.

The way forward

To achieve this we will:

  • introduce body-worn cameras to improve audio and visual camera coverage
  • establish an appropriate balance between respecting young people’s privacy and dignity with the need for camera surveillance to support centre safety and security
  • strengthen complains management processes
  • work with staff to further establish a culture that responds to young people’s concerns.


Recommendation 27 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that the Manager, Monitoring and Compliance should review the CCTV footage of all incidents that this chapter recommends should be taken and retained (10.R1)

Relevant managerial staff review a considerable number of incidents to identify issues. This forms part of a wider review process involving a number of youth detention management positions.

We have also reviewed our CCTV and incident reporting requirements. This has streamlined and clarified requirements.

Recommendation 28 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that security cameras should be placed in all areas where incidents involving use of force, violence, restraints or separation are known to have occurred. (10.R2)

Cleveland Youth Detention Centre has extensive CCTV coverage. This includes areas where incidents are more likely to happen.

Brisbane Youth Detention Centre security upgrade, including a significant increase to CCTV coverage, has been finalised.

Body worn cameras (BWCs) have been implemented in both centres. They started being used on 9 December 2019. BWCs are a cost effective option to ensure improved audio and visual record of incidents.

The Youth Justice Act 1992 was amended to authorise the use of BWCs in youth detention centre for prescribed purposes. Guidelines were developed after extensive consultation. They give a high level overview of the changes made to policies and procedures. The BWC operational guidelines cover key topics including:

  • privacy provisions
  • use, carriage, storage and recording
  • purpose, review and referral of footage

We developed a training package and gave staff face-to-face and online training about BWCs.

Recommendation 29 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that CCTV should be utilised in a way that ensures that all relevant information is captured and retained to:

  • facilitate the investigation of incidents without delay; and
  • without unduly impacting on the mental health or personal privacy of young people. (10.R3)

Youth Justice has established a new policy that considers the privacy and mental health impacts of CCTV. New processes and protections are now operational.

Recommendation 30 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that CCTV footage should be retained in relation to all incidents including:

  • a use of force response that is classified as a level 2 to 4 PAC response
  • a medical emergency
  • where harm has occurred to a young person, staff or another person
  • where property has been significantly damaged or where a criminal charge against the young person is contemplated
  • a period of separation occurring immediately after an incident
    1. the first two hours of the separation period should be retained; or
    2. the whole period of separation if the young person is released before the two hour period ends. (10.R4)

CCTV footage is downloaded through multiple avenues. Most footage is kept indefinitely.

We have reviewed our CCTV and incident reporting requirements. This has streamlined and clarified CCTV monitoring and download requirements.

The use of body worn cameras and the BYDC security upgrade will help to expand coverage.

Recommendation 31 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that the CCTV footage should be retained:

  1. for three years after a young person turns 18 or dies (whichever happens first) and is therefore no longer able to bring an action for personal injury within the meaning of the Limitations of Actions Act 1974;
  2. otherwise until any investigation is finalised and any applicable appeal time limit period has passed. (10.R5)

See response to recommendation 30.

Recommendation 32 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that the Youth Justice Act 1992 should be amended in order to implement the requirement to retain CCTV footage in line with the above recommended timeframes. (10.R6)

In addition to response to recommendation 30, we consider that this can be achieved under existing reporting requirements outlined in the Youth Justice Act 1992 and Youth Justice Regulations 2016.

We have updated relevant policies and procedures, and processes are now operational.

Recommendation 51 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that ESU investigations of alleged staff misconduct by young people should include, where possible, an interview with the complainant in the company of a complainant’s preferred support person. (16.R1)

The Ethical Standards Unit follows this practice where possible. If the young person has been released from custody and does not respond to a request for interview, the unit can only use the available evidence to conduct its investigation.

Recommendation 53 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that staff who are not directly involved in the management of an incident but may be required to remain should ensure they are not obscuring CCTV cameras and the occurring incident. (16.R3)

Youth Justice considers that as far as practicable this should be the case. However, incidents are often unpredictable. We consider that the safety of young people and staff are paramount in any incident response. This includes staff positioning around the perimeter of an incident. The introduction of body worn cameras and security upgrade at BYDC will help further.

Recommendation 54 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that the Inspectorate should consider including an ongoing record of all complaints made by young people at every inspection in order to consider whether or not a youth detention centre is appropriately handling, recording and resolving complaints lodged by young people. (16.R4)

Robust complaints records are currently kept on DCOIS. This is accessible by the Inspectorate. For this reason a separate record-keeping system is not be required.

We have reviewed our youth detention complaints processes to make sure they are child-friendly, culturally safe and immediately responsive to safety and wellbeing concerns.

We support any review and oversight efforts to ensure that the complaints management system is accountable and transparent. We will continue to work with the Inspectorate and action any future findings or recommendations about complaints.

Recommendation 55 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that appropriate and operationally effective measures to restrict contact between a staff member and a young person should be taken immediately following a complaint by the young person. (16.R5)

Existing policy requires this to be considered and actioned as much as possible, noting operational factors.

We have also reviewed the youth detention complaints management policies and procedures to strengthen and clarify record-keeping requirements. New practices have been introduced to ensure complaints processes are child-friendly, culturally safe and immediately respond to safety and wellbeing concerns.

Recommendation 56 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that accurate records of measures taken to separate staff and young people as part of a complaints management process should be kept by the youth detention centre. (16.R6)

Existing policy requires that actions taken in response to complaints (including any steps taken to preserve the integrity of the investigation process and ensure the safety and wellbeing of a young person during an investigation process) must be recorded.

Recommendation 57 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that ESU should identify an expected end date for an investigation and provide details of the expected end date to the young person at the commencement of the investigation into the young person’s complaint. (16.R7)

Youth detention staff will ensure advice about investigation timeframes is provided to young people.

Recommendation 58 (status: complete)

The Review recommends that the review right, if any available to a young person should be included in any outcome letter to the young person, and these rights should be additionally explained to the young person by their caseworker or appropriate staff member. (16.R8)

As required by existing policy, options for review will be explained to young people when providing outcome advice. We also keep a record of this advice.