W.01.01.01 Immediate actions

  1. When a custodial staff suspect or have received information that a prisoner is internally concealing an item(s) the custodial staff must;
    1. order the prisoner to keep his / her hands away from the body and if the prisoner does not comply use reasonable force to restrain the prisoner,
    2. keep the prisoner under constant physical observation by custodial staff,
    3. place the prisoner in a dry cell which does not have –
      1. A toilet; or
      2. Running water; or
      3. A modesty / privacy screen.
    4. immediately contact the health centre manager and provide the health centre manager all the information they have as to why they suspect the prisoner may have an internally concealed item, and what that item is suspected to be (if known).
    5. search the prisoner using the most appropriate search method necessary in the circumstances.
Watch Point

When considering the most appropriate type of search staff must consider the nature of the information that indicates the prisoner is internally concealing an item, and whether a specific search type (such as a detector dog) is appropriate, before completing a strip search.


Consider what other information might be available to determine what the prisoner might be internally concealing. Options include checking with intel, alerts, and previous incident reports.


The health centre manager is responsible for assessing the prisoner’s presentation and history, and deciding whether it is necessary to recommend that the prison director directs that the prisoner is segregated for the purposes of medical oversight as set out in section 60 of the Corrections Act 2004.

The health centre manager must also recommend how frequently observations must be performed.

Health staff also advise the prisoner of the health risks of internally concealing objects or drugs and encourage them to surrender the unauthorised item.

Watch Point

If the health centre manager recommends that the prisoner receives off site medical treatment or assessment, and the prisoner does not consent to be transported off site, the prison director can override the decision (to be transported off site), and direct that the prisoner be transported to a medical centre or hospital for assessment.

If the prison director does not agree with the health centre managers recommendation then they must, without delay, consult with the regional commissioner. The health centre manager must consult with the regional clinical director and/or the health practice manager.