A new liaison officer in Ballarat is set to strengthen the relationship between local police and Aboriginal communities.
The officer is one of four new Aboriginal community liaison officers in the state, who work toward improving understanding of the law and strengthening communication and respect between local Aboriginal elders and groups, and police. They join a 13 member state wide Aboriginal Community Liaison team, helping police to be better informed about potential crime areas and protecting Aboriginal community members who may be at risk of being a victim of crime, while ensuring appropriate support services for Aboriginal youth.
“Police have historically had an unfortunate history of being used as the instrument to effect discriminatory policies and practices of the past. This has contributed to a long history of distrust that Victoria Police is committed to rectifying in a positive manner,” Priority communities division acting commander Tony Silva said. He said strong cultural knowledge and ties to the local community were the basis for their appointment.
“They (ACLOS) play a pivotal role in strengthening communication and interaction between local police and the Aboriginal community to help resolve local issues. ACLOs are also a contact point for those in the community who might not be comfortable to speak to police directly,” he said. “They focus on building positive partnerships and being a conduit between police and the community to resolve issues and provide a platform for shared understanding and collaboration.”