A SECURITY Branch official is to meet disgruntled Correctional Services Department officers today in the hope of convincing them to continue helping repatriate Vietnamese boat people. The Government is eager to defuse tensions among the officers who will be required to take part in a transfer operation at the High Island Vietnamese detention centre on Thursday. Officers are outraged over the Attorney-General's decision not to prosecute Vietnamese videotaped assaulting Correctional Services Department officers during a transfer at the Whitehead camp in May. The Correctional Services Department Officers' Association had planned a press conference for today to air their concerns after Secretary for Security Peter Lai Hing-ling refused to meet them. The association told the South China Morning Post last week that unless it received a fair hearing, it would consider boycotting repatriation exercises. It was also to consider initiating private prosecutions. However, in an effort to appease the officers, the Government released a statement 'in response to further representations' indicating that newly installed Deputy Secretary for Security Alex Fong Chi-wai would meet officers from the association today. 'The decision not to prosecute was made by the Attorney-General and, in response to representations, the acting Attorney-General, Mr Ian Wingfield . . . commended the officers for the courage and patience with which they carried out their duties,' a government spokesman said. He said the officers often worked under 'difficult and dangerous conditions', but the decision not to prosecute was made 'after the most careful consideration of all relevant factors'. Two police staff associations, representing about 24,000 officers, are also planning to initiate private prosecutions. The police and CSD associations are seeking a review of the Government's non-prosecution policy. It is understood the Government does not wish to see Vietnamese prosecuted, because it would delay their repatriation if found guilty. It would also result in prison sentences extending beyond the 1997 handover. Beijing has repeatedly indicated its unwillingness to have Vietnamese to remain in Hong Kong after 1997. About 21,000 Vietnamese are detained in the territory as the Government awaits the outcome of a US proposal to resettle thousands of boat people from the region in America. Thursday's deportation will target 100 people, some of whom are expected to resist. In June, a riot broke out as security forces lost control of the High Island camp in the hours prior to a transfer operation similar to the one planned for Thursday. The High Island riot was followed by the escape of 90 people from the camp in July. The detainees cut through perimeter fences during a heavy rainstorm. An official inquiry into the mass breakout blamed staff negligence. Since the riot and breakout, major repairs have been conducted at the camp at a cost to the Government of about $1 million. 'The perimeter fence was repaired immediately after the escape. Works relating to the welding of metal plates to reinforce the fence have now been substantially completed at an approximate cost of $300,000,' a government spokesman said. The spokesman said the repairs directly attributable to the June riot were still being carried out, and were expected to cost about $700,000.