Aboriginal liaison officers in community policing


There have been many varied approaches over time to engage Aboriginal people as a part of the police service. One such has been creating Indigenous liaison officers to act as intermediaries between the Indigenous population and the police force. This article looks at the roles of these liaison officers; like building communication channels, strengthening relationships, settling disputes between police and Indigenous people, helping police and the community to create crime solutions as well as a range of other activities. This role created many challenges for the liaison officers, such as power imbalances and distrust from both sides. The volatile and ever changing circumstances that these agreements operate within greatly impact upon the success and failings of these endeavours. Previous experiences of Indigenous liaison officers and the responses of the community and police force are used throughout this article to illustrate the author’s point.

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© Australian Institute of Criminology 2010 ISSN 1836-2060 (Print) 1836-2079 (Online) ISBN 978 1 921532 72 6 (Print) 978 1 921532 73 3 (Online) Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of this publication may in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publisher. Published by the Australian Institute of Criminology GPO Box 2944 Canberra ACT 2601 Tel: (02) 6260 9200 Fax: (02) 6260 9299 Email: front.desk@aic.gov.au Website: http://www.aic.gov.au Please note: minor revisions are occasionally made to publications after release. The online versions available on the AIC website will always include any revisions. Disclaimer: This research report does not necessarily re?ect the policy position of the Australian Government. Edited and typeset by the Australian Institute of Criminology