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Police aim to build bridges with Aboriginal communities

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Richmond LAC police will hold discussions with Aboriginal community members in May to see how relationships can be improved.
Richmond LAC police will hold discussions with Aboriginal community members in May to see how relationships can be improved.

Richmond Local Area Command (LAC) police are looking to improve relationships with Aboriginal communities within their beat, which sank to a new low last month when an eight-year-old Aboriginal boy was held in a police paddy van in Coraki for more than three hours.

An investigation is still underway into why Mundhra Williams was left locked in the vehicle after being picked up with his cousin for throwing rocks, even though the other child was dropped off at his home.

Meanwhile, next week police will hold meetings to discuss how they can work together with Aboriginal people to create stronger, safer communities.

The sessions are being conducted as part of the NSW Police Aboriginal Strategic Direction (2012 – 2017), which is a blueprint for how LACs engage and interact with Aboriginal communities.

A spokesperson says the policy ‘aims to build strong relationships between police and Aboriginal people, and deliver meaningful outcomes for their local communities.’

The four priorities will be ensuring community safety; improving communication and understanding between police and Aboriginal people; reducing involvement in and improved safety of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system; and reduction of and diversion from harm.

NSW Police Force corporate spokesperson for Aboriginal issues, Acting Deputy Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said a similar round of community-engagement activities were held in 2012 and 2013.

‘However, we are taking this opportunity to revisit Aboriginal communities… within Richmond LAC to reinforce the powerful ways in which police and Aboriginal people can work together to build stronger, safer communities,’ he said.

‘As the Aboriginal Strategic Direction is up for review next year, we will also be seeking input on how we can forge… more productive partnerships between police and Aboriginal people in the future,’ Acting Deputy Commissioner McKechnie added.

Meeting times

Monday 16 May 2016
10.30am: Coraki Community Hall (63 Surry Street, Coraki)

Tuesday 17 May 2016
10.30am: Bunjum Aboriginal Co-Op (Tamar Street, Ballina)

Wednesday 18 May 2016
10am: Aunty Fay Room at Lismore TAFE (Conway Street, Lismore)

Thursday 19 May 2016
9am: Country Women’s Association (Court Street, Tabulam)
11am: Jubulam Land Council (38 Gundingbo Avenue, Tabulam)
3pm: Casino Cultural Community Centre (Walker Street, Casino)

More information about NSW Police Force’s Aboriginal Strategic Direction can be found here.

 


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