Date published: 13 April 2007

The Crime and Misconduct Commission is calling for submissions to its independent inquiry into policing in remote Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal communities.

CMC Director, Research and Prevention, Susan Johnson says the public inquiry is an opportunity for state government agencies, police and Indigenous people to work together to help find solutions to long-term problems faced by police and communities in these remote areas.

‘Far too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people come into contact with the criminal justice system, and police are the first point of contact,’ Ms Johnson said.

‘Relations between police and Indigenous people have had a troubled history in Queensland and throughout Australia. The CMC is now asking for community assistance and input to help improve police and community relations and to consider alternative policing models.’

The Queensland Government has asked the CMC to provide practical recommendations, focusing particularly on:

  • possible changes to policing that will improve relations between the police and people in remote Indigenous communities
  • police practices regarding detention in police custody, including monitoring people in watch-houses and deciding who should do this monitoring
  • the best use of State Government resources in delivering criminal justice services in remote Indigenous communities.

‘The CMC is aware that some research has already been carried out in this area. We are taking steps to ensure that we obtain all existing information relevant to our project, and will continue to monitor any further developments,’ Ms Johnson said.

‘We have already met with some Indigenous leaders on Thursday Island and will continue to consult with key stakeholders through face-to-face meetings, over the telephone and through written submissions. The CMC will visit remote communities for discussions with community members and police, and we expect to hold public hearings in Brisbane and Cairns later this year.’

The call for submissions is being advertised in major centres across Queensland and a toll free telephone number 1800 061 611 is available for the inquiry. Submissions need to be received by Friday 1 June 2007. They should be faxed to 07 3360 6333, marked ‘CMC Inquiry into Policing in Indigenous Communities’, or emailed to: [email protected], or posted to: CMC Inquiry into Policing in Indigenous Communities, GPO Box 3123, Brisbane Qld 4001.

Read the issues paper, which contains information about the main areas of interest to the inquiry.


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