The University of Sydney (USyd) has hired Wilson Security, the company that serviced Australia’s detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island from 2012 to 2017, to provide security services on campus.
Wilson Security will work alongside SNP Security, who are currently the sole campus security providers.
USyd and Wilson Security entered into the agreement earlier this month. The firm is on a three month contract, with the option for month-to-month extension.
Wilson Security will have a 24/7 presence at Sydney College of the Arts, and at Fisher and Law libraries. The firm will have limited responsibilities at SciTech, and at some historic buildings.
The University’s campus security services are currently provided by SNP Security, whose other clients include the Federal Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Sydney Airport and Energy Australia. The contract, which began in September 2015 and is set to end in December 2021, is estimated to cost USyd upwards of $30,000,000.
The University put the security contract out to tender this August, and is in the midst of procuring a campus-wide security provider. A spokesperson for USyd said Wilson Security had been engaged on an interim basis, “only whilst the process is finalised”.
The new security personnel will not wear campus security uniforms or Wilson Security apparel, instead wearing “unbranded business attire”.
There is no legal requirement for security personnel to wear uniforms. However, they must identify themselves and be able to produce a valid security licence if asked to do so.
Wilson Security has attracted controversy following the release of the Nauru Files in 2016. Employees were accused of sexual assault and violence against refugees and asylum seekers held in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The security firm saw many of its contracts cancelled in the wake of the scandal, including its contract with the National Gallery of Victoria.