Aboriginal Communities and the Police's Taskforce Themis: Case studies in remote Aboriginal community policing in the Northern Territory


The two legal aid services undertook research into policing under the Northern Territory intervention, particularly in a group of 14 communities that were provided with a police station. They found strong support for a permanent police presence (75%) and overall approval of the job police were doing (53%), but there were wide variations between communities and groups in their responses to the police presence. In different places, police worked in different ways, targeted different crimes, and had different levels and types of engagement with the community. Although there was no uniformity in police practices between communities, common success factors were an active and visible police presence and involvement in the community. A small number of communities registered little improvement in crime and low approval of police, largely attributed to low visibility or involvement. Communities judged individual police rather than police in general. Appropriate policing was more associated with police experience than training. The research identified some areas of law requiring clarification and continuing problems with Aboriginal interactions with the rest of the legal system and with alcohol. Recommendations are directed to police, all levels of government, community organisations and community members.

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