Committee aims to ‘bridge the gap’

By Olivia Duffey

Local Aboriginals are being encouraged to joining the Murray River Police District Police Aboriginal Community Committee to help an ongoing commitment to build a relationship between the police and the Aboriginal community.

Deniliquin-based police Aboriginal community liaison officer Des Morgan said the group’s first meeting of the year was a success, with the opportunity for members to meet the new Murray River Police District commander Paul Smith.

‘‘It was an important meeting because the ideology around this group is to bridge a gap between the Aboriginal community and police and change the way situations are dealt with to better benefit everyone,’’ Mr Morgan said.

‘‘Now that Commander Paul Smith has met with the members, he has a direct line of contact and we can work to create further relationships.’’
The committee also discussed crime trends, programs, prevention tactics and acknowledged their achievements.

‘‘Youth crimes and domestic violence related to the Aboriginal community are trending so we looked at programs to tackle that, however we were able to celebrate a reduction in some crime trends,’’ Mr Morgan said.

‘‘We also acknowledged the importance of the three flagpoles being erected at the front of the Deniliquin Police Station that fly the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, and the police presence at the local NAIDOC market last year.

‘‘Also discussed were programs including a gym session to promote healthy lifestyle led by the local drug action team and ideas for this year’s NAIDOC events.’’

Going forward, Mr Morgan wants to see more members of the local Aboriginal community attending meetings and ‘‘having their say’’.

“We are encouraging people to have a say in the way police interact with the Aboriginal community, whether it is positive or negative,’’ Mr Morgan said.

‘‘I want to see a better relationship built because I believe it will have a positive impact on both police and the local Aboriginal community as well as close a gap between the two.”

For more information contact Des Morgan at the Deniliquin Police Station on 03 5881 9299.

The next meeting is May 26 from 10.30am at the Deniliquin Police Station.