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Police to probe Tas youth centre issues

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Andrew Drummond

A staff member at a Tasmanian youth detention centre has been told not to return to work until police have investigated footage of a series of incidents described as concerning by Premier Will Hodgman.

Clashes between boys and workers at the northern Ashley Youth Detention Centre on July 14 and 15 posed safety concerns and a subsequent analysis of CCTV footage raised questions about the actions of staff, the government said.

"This matter has now been referred to the commissioner for police for consideration," Mr Hodgman told parliament on Thursday.

"I'm advised also that workers have made complaints themselves to police and the staff member at the centre of our concerns has been asked not to attend the workplace until these matters are resolved through due and appropriate process and has agreed not to attend as requested."

Details of the incidents have not been made public but Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said there is no evidence of stripping, tying, gagging or mechanical restraint.

"Our highest priority ... is to make sure the department (of health and human services) is doing everything it can to make sure that our duty of care to residents and to staff is at the highest priority ... and ensure safety in this facility," Mr Hodgman said.

The Liberal administration expects to receive independent expert advice about the allegations on Friday and in the meantime the premier said the footage will not be released.

"We are strongly advised by department and agency heads including that of the police commissioner that to do so would prejudice procedural fairness at this point and compromise due process so that is not something we are prepared to do."

Ashley Youth Detention Centre is the subject of a state government review, announced in early 2016, when the state government deemed the centre did not meet with contemporary expectations.

The latest issues were raised after the treatment of boys at Darwin's Don Dale youth detention centre attracted widespread condemnation, including from the United Nations.

The revelations led to the federal government's announcement of a royal commission into youth detention.

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