The WA police force is seeking to build better relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the state through a new Aboriginal Affairs Division.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the division’s main role would be to build and sustain better relationships with the state’s Indigenous peoples.
“Establishing the AAD builds upon our apology to Indigenous people earlier this year and enables my strategic intent, to reduce Aboriginal offending and victimisation in Western Australia,” Mr Dawson said.
“The Division will report to me through Assistant Commissioner (Capability and Coordination) Craig Ward, tasked with shaping the strategic direction of Aboriginal affairs for the agency.”
Mr Dawson said the AAD’s work would be complemented by an Aboriginal Police Advisory Forum, which would bring together the experience and leadership of police executives and eight WA Aboriginal leaders.
“Members will consider and provide high-level policy advice and information on historical and environmental factors impacting our relationship with, and service delivery to Indigenous people and communities,” he said.
A symposium is also being planned for early 2019 for all police employees identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
In July, Mr Dawson formally apologised for mistreatment of WA’s Aboriginal people at the hands of police.
He used a NAIDOC Week speech to acknowledge the “significant role” police played in contributing to a traumatic history of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, which he said continued to reverberate today.