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Vic Police take on IBAC recommendations

Aboriginal cultural awareness training is being rolled out to all Victorian police officers as one of 10 recommendations handed down in an anti-corruption commission report.

In May, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, Victoria’s police oversight body, examined the force’s handling of 41 complaints from Aboriginal people and its oversight of 13 serious incidents involving an Indigenous person.

IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich said the findings highlighted systemic and longstanding failures within Victoria Police’s complaints-handling processes.

On Monday, a Victoria Police spokesperson said the organisation had accepted all recommendations in the audit.

Among the report’s recommendations, the force has been urged to establish a dedicated system to deal with future police complaints made by Aboriginal people.

“We will continue to reform our processes and advance employee training to ensure Aboriginal people receive fair and just outcomes,” the spokesperson said.

“Already Victoria Police is progressing important change including the rollout of mandatory Aboriginal cultural awareness training to help our employees understand the role police have played in past government policies and practices, break down barriers and strengthen relationships between police and the Aboriginal community.”

Victoria Police has 189 Aboriginal liaison officers, some who are Aboriginal, whose primary role is to improve relationships between the organisation and Indigenous people.

Recommendations to be undertaken by Victoria Police include:

* Urgently implement systemic reform of its approach to complaint handling to simplify the system

* Develop and implement specific training for Victoria Police employees on the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and its application to Aboriginal people who come into contact with police

* Address concerns identified in the report regarding how police engage with Aboriginal children and young people in the context of arrest, interviews and management in police custody

* Establish a dedicated process for handling complaints made by Aboriginal people to enable timely and culturally appropriate complaint handling

* Ensure patterns of complaints against police officers involving allegations of misconduct against Aboriginal people are considered in ethical health assessments.

(Source: IBAC)

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