Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 cultural conflict. In fact, this has been a feature of Territory police recruitment training for over a decade and is subject to continuing review and refinement. To help police deal with cultural conflicts involving Aboriginal people, the committee recommends that the scope of the Pol ice Aide Scheme be increased. Members will be .aware that the Pol ice Aide Scheme was a Northern Territory initiative in the 1970s and has since been a model for developments elsewhere. Consideration is now being given to increasing both the number of police aides and their range of responsibilities. The commi ttee recommends a 1 so that Abori g i nes be encouraged to become fully-qualified police officers. Again, the Territory is a recognised leader in this area. The number of stations where police aides operate alone, as the local community police, is steadily increasing, and the Police Commi ss i oner is currently prepa ri ng a recrui tment program des i gned specifically to encourage Aborigines and members of other ethnic groups to become police officers. I am particularly happy to report that the committee has recommended that the Aboriginal Police Aide Sc.heme, as it operates in the Territory and South Australia, be introduced in other parts of the country. Another committee recommendation is that police and others involved in the criminal justice system should be trained in child abuse issues. While these issues are addressed already in our education and in-service training programs for po 1 ice recrui ts, more can and must be done. To that end, the level of training is under review. The committee further recommends the adoption of improved procedures for investigating child abuse. This area of the law is recognised by the Territory government as being in urgent need of reform, and I am pleased to report that it is under review by the Departments of Law and Health and Community Services, and the police. Consideration is being given to the video recording of initial complaints by child victims and to the use of closed-circuit television when children give th~ir evidence in court in cases of sexual abuse. The committee makes a number of recommendations concerning police accountabil ity inc 1 udi ng one that po 11 ce shoul d be permit ted to use 1 etha 1 force only in self-defence or in defence of others, and then only as a last resort. Section 28 of the Territory Criminal Code, which governs the use of force likely to cause death or grievous harm, is consistent with this recommendation and, I might add, the Territory government will strongly support any move towards uniform laws concerning the use of force. Adequate funding and resources to train police in the use of firearms and other weapons is recommended in the commi t tee I s report. A Territory study into this and related matters is nearing completion. The Report of the National Committee on Violence makes recommendations on several matters a ri sing from the use of force by po 1 ice. The government supports the principles implied in these recommendations, and the whole issue will be considered by the Australian Police Commissioners at a forthcoming national conference. Our police training emphasises that use of force and conduct afterwards will be the subject of close scrutiny and that the individual police officer must act only in a manner which is. clearly justified. The report suggests that governments should refer the matter of Crown 1 i abil i ty for abuse of power by po 1 ice to the respect i ve Law Reform Commissions. Members may recall that our Police Administration Act has contained a provision for Crown liability since 1979. In fact, the Territory was one of the first Australian jurisdictions to provide for liability in this area. 8739
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