Read Community Patrols Progress Report OCP text version

Introduction ____________________________________________ 2 Support for Patrols ______________________________________ 2 Best Practice ____________________________________________ 3 Patrols and Policing ______________________________________ 3 Crime Prevention ________________________________________ 4

1. Best Practice?..............................................................................................................................5 2. Aboriginal Domain and Aboriginal Law ....................................................................................9 3. The changing landscape of policing and crime prevention .......................................................10 A `mixed economy' of agencies ................................................................................................11 Community partnerships ..........................................................................................................13 Beyond the public and the private............................................................................................13 Holistic and integrated approaches .........................................................................................14 4. Aboriginal People and Policing ................................................................................................14 Continuing Over-representation ..............................................................................................15 `Push' versus `pull' factors ......................................................................................................16 5. Capacity Building .....................................................................................................................16 Social capital............................................................................................................................17 Creative hybridity.....................................................................................................................19 Improved Governance ..............................................................................................................20 Aboriginal Terms of Reference.................................................................................................22 6. Aboriginal Community Patrols .................................................................................................23 Cost Benefits of Patrols............................................................................................................24 Crime Prevention and Community Patrols ..............................................................................25 Developing Good Practice .......................................................................................................26 7. Aboriginal Patrols and Best Practice.........................................................................................28 8. Ngoodagardy Patrol South Hedland..........................................................................................29 Community visitors...................................................................................................................30 BHP Funding for the Patrol.....................................................................................................31 Alcohol restrictions ..................................................................................................................32 Main problem ...........................................................................................................................32 Truancy Patrol .........................................................................................................................33 Respect for Law and Culture....................................................................................................34 Relationships with the Police and other Agencies....................................................................35 Rehabilitation...........................................................................................................................36 Pilbara Patrols workshop- South Hedland ..............................................................................36 West Kimberley Patrols Workshop ­ Derby.............................................................................38 9. Yamatji Patrol ...........................................................................................................................39 10. Nyoongar Patrol Outreach Service..........................................................................................42 Training....................................................................................................................................43 Stake-holder conflict ................................................................................................................43 11. Data collection ........................................................................................................................45 12. Thinking Outside the Box: New ways of Thinking About Training and Monitoring Practice Through Narratives, Yarns and Storytelling .................................................................................46 Aboriginal Patrol Training Kit.................................................................................................46 Patrol Story ..............................................................................................................................47 References ......................................................................................................................49 (Appendix 1) - Overview of a Web Based Abroginal Patrol Training Rescource..........55 (Appendix 2) - Patrol Story (Central Australia) Courtesy of Jennifer Walker, Remote Area Night Patrol, Alice Springs ....................................................................................57 Figure 1...........................................................................................................................59




Models of Best Practice: Aboriginal Community Patrols in Western Australia

Harry Blagg Crime Research Centre University of Western Australia

Prepared for the Office of Crime Prevention



The intention of this discussion paper is to explore Best Practice issues in relation to Aboriginal Community Patrols in Western Australia in the context of crime prevention and community safety. Aboriginal Community Patrols have become an accepted feature of localised responses to crime and anti-social behaviour in many Aboriginal communities across the state. They represent a key, if not always sufficiently acknowledged, component of the state's crime prevention strategy in Aboriginal communities. There are currently 20 Patrols currently funded at various levels by the Department of Indigenous Affairs. DIA funding has ensured a continuity of service.

Support for Patrols

The role played by Patrols in the management of local security, has been recognised in a number of recent high level inquiries. The `Gordon' inquiry found that Aboriginal people themselves viewed them as `essential to the operation of their communities' (Gordon, Hallam and Henry, 2002). There were similar findings from an inquiry into Aboriginal views about justice services in the Kimberley (Department of Justice, 2003). State wide consultations undertaken as part of a major inquiry into Aboriginal customary law found considerable support for Aboriginal Patrols within the Aboriginal community. 1 While a recently released report setting out a strategic framework for overcoming Indigenous disadvantage recognises the constructive role Patrols play in targeted local action to reduce alcohol related crime and disorder (Department of Indigenous Affairs, 2005).

To achieve their full potential, however, Aboriginal patrols need to be part of a holistic and integrated localised response to crime and disorder, rather than as stand alone organisations fulfilling an essentially para-policing function. In particular, patrols need to be situated within an expanded network of Aboriginal community justice mechanisms (see Figure 1), where they act to divert Indigenous people away

1 See the `thematic summaries' of consultations at: )


from contact with the formal criminal justice system into alternative community owned, as opposed to simply community based, networks of care and support ­ a process underway in other states and territories. These networks include shelters, refuges, healing centres, cooling off facilities and similar initiatives run by Aboriginal communities in partnership with government agencies. Because of their unique position patrols are able to connect Aboriginal people with appropriate services, act as `early warning' mechanism for the formal justice system in some instances, while offering a diversionary alternative to the formal system in others. Aboriginal patrols, therefore, should be located within the suite of local justice reforms set out in Aboriginal Justice Agreement (WA) and the recommendations of the Western Australian Law Reform Commission's Aboriginal Customary Law final reports (2006a&b). These complementary reform strategies favour models of crime prevention linked directly to strengthening the Aboriginal domain and encouraging Aboriginal ownership of justice and justice related issues.

Best Practice

The notion of Best Practice itself needs to be radically reconfigured in a way which foregrounds Aboriginal values, beliefs and practices and strengthens Aboriginal culture. The construct of `Best Practice' as currently deployed in mainstream programs, is profoundly ethnocentric. It tends to be employed to describe techniques and practices which optimize desired system outcomes: thereby running the risk of by-passing important cultural processes which, from an Indigenous perspective, form an indispensable basis for doing business. Any analysis of Best Practice in an Indigenous context must include reference to the cultural processes necessary to embed programs and ensure they remain culturally secure, rather than simply focus on isolated techniques and technologies.

Patrols and Policing

While it can be said that Aboriginal patrols do carry out a form of policing in the broadest sense of the term ­ they fit, for example, in to Reiner's (1995) definition of policing as a set of practices concerned with preserving and maintaining social order ­ their role and the formal police's role are not interchangeable; and, while roles may be complementary, one cannot act as a substitute for the other. Aboriginal patrols operate 3

on the basis of cultural authority which they derive from their embedded position within the Aboriginal domain (`domain' here means a space where the dominant languages, social life and culture are Aboriginal), rather than formal legal authority. Their role is largely preventive and focuses on early intervention to forestall potential crises through direct mediation and by drawing on `insider' cultural knowledge.

Crime Prevention

This discussion paper discusses a range of issues connected with the role of Patrols in crime prevention. There is something of a `disconnect' between Indigenous and nonIndigenous priorities in terms of crime prevention. Mainstream priorities should not be imposed onto Indigenous communities without considerable negotiation, particularly: ·

the notion of crime prevention itself needs to be radically reconfigured to accommodate Indigenous priorities and focus on broad concerns about security and well-being;

· · ·

crime prevention initiatives need to invest in community capacity building; these processes of capacity building need to be tailored to the unique requirements of the Aboriginal domain; and, priorities for action, and means of achieving them must emerge from below, rather then imposed from above.

Best Practice Principles Community Patrols: Some Key Points.

1. To operate effectively Patrols need to be embedded in the local Aboriginal community. This does not mean that all workers and administrators need to be Aboriginal people; rather that Patrols requires the endorsement of the Aboriginal community to operate effectively, it requires cultural authority. Amongst other things, this means that the Patrol will need to acknowledge Aboriginal Customary Law and culture. It will also need to respect Aboriginal sensibilities around `avoidance' where necessary, and ensure that protocols governing men and women's spheres of responsibility are respected.


2. Patrols operate without police powers. Aboriginal patrols tend to see their role in terms of mediation rather enforcement, they should not be used as an alternative to the police or private security.

3. A Patrols primary role should be to divert Aboriginal people away from enmeshment in the criminal justice and related systems and, where necessary, into community owned systems of care, control and support.

4. They also have a key role in the early identification of potential victims of crime and should be viewed as having a victim support role.


Processes of capacity building are necessary to support patrols. There is a need for `cultural' capacity building in non-Aboriginal agencies working with patrols. These should involve cultural training by local Aboriginal elders and people of significance.

6. Patrols should not be viewed in isolation as stand alone para-policing initiatives, rather they need to be situated within an emerging sphere of Aboriginal owned community justice mechanisms, supported by the Aboriginal domain.

7. Funding, training and appropriate forms of information gathering are crucial to the long term viability of patrols. The `Patrol Story' narrative based data collection system developed by Remote Area Night Patrol (Tangentyere Council NT) should be evaluated as a tool for Western Australia and the Web Based Abroginal Patrol Training Rescource developed by Doug Thompson should be given wide support.

1. Best Practice?

Best Practice is often referred to as a set of techniques or methodologies that have proven to offer a reliable means of achieving desired goals. The weakness of this notion of Best Practice from an Indigenous justice perspective is that, because it tends to be focused on determining the optimum means of achieving desired outcomes it 5

runs the risk of by-passing important cultural practices and processes which, from an Indigenous perspective, may be form an indispensable prerequisite for doing business. Interest in Best Practice has developed in tandem with a suite of ideas that have formed part of the contemporary `what works' paradigm. Criminologists have urged caution when imposing this doctrine in an unmediated fashion on Aboriginal communities. The `What Works' orthodoxy, Anne Worrall argues, has underwritten an approach to community corrections fixated on a:

model of focused, accountable, standardised intervention into the lives of offenders, based on the actuarial concept of risk assessment, the science of cognitive behavioural psychology, the morality of individual responsibility and the politics of restorative justice (Worall, 2000, 243). Worrall concludes that this orthodoxy is inevitably `transformed beyond recognition' (Worall, 2000, 246) when practiced in remote areas where all the realities of life and the values, beliefs and practices of Aboriginal people have to be taken in to account. A key feature of the `what works' doctrine is the faith in `evidence based research'. However, much of the orthodox crime prevention `evidence base' is of necessity founded on a western experience and the research generally conducted in nonIndigenous settings in the light of a set of non-Indigenous priorities (Blagg, 2006; Capabianco and Shaw, 2003) International Best Practice models tend to be derived from Euro-American research and focused on Euro-American systems: they identify the best techniques available to achieve desirable goals. This does not automatically invalidate them. However it does mean we must remain vigilant when employing them in radically different cultural settings. In their critique of the notion of Best Practice from an Indigenous perspective, Cunneen & McDonald (1999) suggest we focus less on outcomes and outputs and identify instead the necessary processes, values and principles. They suggest that the search for Best Practice in the Indigenous context must be informed by a respect for Indigenous human rights, and they set out a number of principles to be followed. These begin with `principles underlying recognition of Indigenous rights', which


include: negotiation; recognition and respect; and, self determination: together these principles should underpin any process of consultation with Aboriginal people. They move on to outline what they call `principles underlying program implementation', which include effectiveness, equity, and balancing individual and group focuses, these draw attention to: the need to have realistic program goals that enhance equity; recognize that Aboriginal people have a collective as well as individual identities; and develop strategies that lead to reintegration back in to communities. Finally Cunneen & McDonald outline a number of `principles underlying successful processes': these cover: secure funding; recognition of community limitations; and understanding the parameters of program evaluation; important principles which would ensure that communities are not `set up to fail' by having unrealistic expectations placed on them regarding their capacity to run programs. Cunneen and McDonald conclude that a `narrowly technocratic' focus on Best Practice focusing on outcomes and effectiveness alone is inadequate when dealing in the Indigenous context (Cunneen & McDonald 1999, 11). They suggest, in relation to Best Practice with Aboriginal youth, although the message has broader relevance, that: The lessons of successful Indigenous community justice responses is efficient, practical and ongoing support from government to facilitate communities in the difficult processes of finding acceptable solutions to the problems facing Indigenous young people (Cunneen & McDonald 1999, 11). A review of best practice in the area of Indigenous substance misuse services (Stempel, Saggers, Gray and Stearne, 2003) found difficulties in establishing a one size definition of best practice in the Indigenous context because of the diversity of Aboriginal cultures and localities (74). They also make the important observation that because Aboriginal organisations often operate in difficult environments they rarely demonstrate consistent good practice and it is therefore important to talk about elements of best practice. They found that effective Aboriginal organisations had the following elements:


· · · · · ·

indigenous community control; clearly defined management structures and procedures; trained staff and effective staff development programs; multi-strategy and collaborative approaches; adequate funding; and clearly defined realistic objectives aimed at the provision of appropriate services that address community needs (Stempel, Saggers, Gray and Stearne, 2003, 74).

A number of these elements have resonance in the area of Indigenous crime prevention initiatives and are discussed in the later section of community patrols. The study placed emphasis on the need for government support to ensure that initiatives are sustainable and not set up to fail by funding agencies. Best Practice models, derived from mainstream experience, implicitly assume that a set of functioning systems are already in place that, perhaps with a little fine tuning and modification here and there, can support reform strategies. This assumption is positively dangerous in the Aboriginal context, where even the most rudimentary structures may either not exist or may function in continuous crisis. This creates the need to nurture the necessary structures as a precondition for establishing sustainable and effective programs. As Hazelhurst argues: When considering the social reconstructive potential of crime prevention, we quickly realise that that it may well be futile to attempt to separate objectives to reduce crime from social development issues. In the absence of a `community base', `community based crime prevention' is a theory in search of reality. (Hazelhurst, 1995a, xxi). Achieving Best Practice in the Indigenous domain may require a lengthy process of capacity building, during which Indigenous communities acquire the necessary skills and capacities to sustain initiatives over the long term (Lingiari Foundation, 2003). A review of Indigenous issues in crime prevention from Queensland suggests that to be relevant to Indigenous communities, crime prevention must base itself on `traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of solving problems' moreover, the processes must begin by addressing `the wellbeing of the people' and 8

begin by raising the standard of community infrastructure, including housing, health, educational standards, sport and recreational facilities, victim services, community justice services and so on. 2 Crime prevention, the report suggests, simply won't work if it imports strategies from the non-Indigenous context and imposes them from above. Similarly Cunneen (2001) suggests that crime prevention in the Indigenous context must take account of local cultural factors and be community driven. A review of Indigenous people and crime prevention in Australia, New Zealand and Canada by Capabianco and Shaw identifies a number of unique experiences characteristic of Indigenous people which form a necessary backdrop to any discussion of crime prevention strategies. It is important, they maintain, to acknowledge the damage wrought by colonization and failed policies of social engineering: is apparent that any discussion of crime prevention and Indigenous people must recognize their unique experience of colonization, exploitation and assimilation (Capabianco and Shaw 2003, 4).

2. Aboriginal Domain and Aboriginal Law

It is useful when contemplating work within Aboriginal communities to first acknowledge the significant cultural differences between western and Aboriginal world views. While this is acknowledged in a broad sense in policy it does not always translate into practice. Achieving durable partnerships requires recognizing the existence of the Aboriginal `domain' as a relatively separate cultural and social milieu governed by its own rules, etiquettes, laws a ways of seeing. The notion of domain was first used by Von Sturmer to describe spaces where the dominant cultures, mentalities, languages and behaviors were Aboriginal. It remains a useful way of framing work in the Indigenous context because it checks our tendency to view Aboriginal issues as though they were coterminous with other `disadvantaged' or `marginalized' groups, amenable to mainstreaming policy initiatives. Aboriginal


Yadilda, Standing Strong: Preventing Crime in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Queensland government,


issues need to be addressed as emerging directly from a unique concatanatation of historical circumstances, linked to colonisation and its aftermath. Homologously, Aboriginal domain is governed by its own laws. The Western Australian Law Reform Commission's Aboriginal Customary Law inquiry (2006a&b) found that Aboriginal law: · · · still governs many aspects of daily life for many Aboriginal people, providing the maps of meaning that make communal life possible and predictable; Aboriginal Law provides an overarching framework of rules and obligations, forms of penalty and censure, codes of conduct, etiquette and address; it informs people about with whom they can associate and under what conditions, it informs them about their obligations and their relationship to those around them. · There was widespread support for greater recognition of Aboriginal law within Aboriginal communities. Crime prevention work should acknowledge the salience of the Aboriginal domain and acknowledge the continuing relevance of Aboriginal law. Before assessing these in any depth it is worth dwelling momentarily on the evolution of the broader environment in which Aboriginal focused initiatives are set.

3. The changing landscape of policing and crime prevention

A number of fundamental shifts are currently taking place in the ways community based policing is being carried out in contemporary societies; shifts which have long term implications for the provision of crime prevention and community safety. While the state police remain the most obvious symbol of community order and security, the police service itself is increasingly being dwarfed by a host of other providers of security, offering services as diverse as crowd management in entertainment precincts, patrols of business premises and local situational crime prevention.

Policing, Robert Reiner suggests, is as much about symbolism as substance (Reiner, 2003): a visible policing presence promotes a sense of security and order and constitutes a vivid signal of society's intolerance for disorder. However, increasingly, 10

this symbolic role is being dispersed across a broad network of security providers whose uniformed presence offers public `reassurance' in situations of perceived public risk (public transport, urban and suburban space for example). The increasing popularity in the UK and Western Europe of various forms of `community warden' schemes, reveals also that `reassurance policing' by agencies other then the regular police is fast becoming as much a part of the fabric of community policing as it is the policing of large scale public space and business premises. It is now widely accepted that the demand for policing in contemporary societies far outstrips the capacities of the regular police to provide. While a considerable amount of police research since the 1960s has attempted to measure the effectiveness of different types of policing (such as centralised response versus patrol policing) in responding to incidents and fighting crime, this focus tended to overlook the popular appeal of `visible' policing as mechanism for promoting public reassurance. A `mixed economy' of agencies Planning community safety and crime prevention initiatives increasingly requires mobilising a host of government and non-government organisations; as the once familiar security `blanket' increasingly comes to resemble a security `quilt' - a patchwork stitched together from an assortment of local security materials (Crawford 2003). There is broad agreement amongst researchers, practitioners and policy makers that `joined up' government, while desirable in theory, is difficult to realise in practice, and adding non-government organisations to multi-agency dialogue may simply muddy further already murky waters. Nevertheless, non-government organisations have become players in the provision of security services and the future of policing will inevitably become more of a `mixed economy' of public and private provision with a sizable role for `citizen involvement' (Jones and Newburn, 2003; Newburn, 2003, 711). The challenge ahead lies in developing forms of governance capable of regulating and coordinating such a plurality of interests.

`Policing' as we have come to know the practice over the last hundred or so years, is undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift, the longer term implications of which remain the source of debate, but include a greater role for a diversity of public, private and community players. Moreover, the transformation of policing may be linked with


broader shifts in the way criminal justice and crime prevention is organized, managed and delivered. Lucia Zedner writes:

It now appears increasingly possible that this model of the police may come to be seen as a historical blip in a more enduring schema of policing as an array of activities undertaken by multiple private and public agencies, and individual and communal endeavours. In the longer term, that archetypal modern state venture--the criminal justice system--may itself be regarded as a historical anomaly. To this extent, to speak of `the police' looks increasingly like a reference to a distinct historical period, with particular characteristics, practices, orientations, values and goals (Zedner, 2006, 269).

Zedner suggests that not only policing but criminal justice more broadly is subject to transformation, with a greater role for a multiplicity of public/private and communal interests, with government taking more of a regulatory than directive role. On a broader level it is clear that a paradigmatic shift is taking place in the ways community safety is being delivered. This paradigmatic shift includes changes in the way crime prevention as a range of activities and practices is imagined, planned and implemented, along with the kinds of agencies involved in the process. The transformation of security involves new `configurations' and `networks' of public and private interests (Law Commission of Canada, 2002). Shearing and Wood argue: Today, there are many agencies and agents involved in the governance of security besides the police. The same is true of adjudication and sentencing agents and agencies. There are now many more non-state policing agents than there are police officers .... And these formal agents are only the tip of the iceberg. Policing has become increasingly an activity that agencies and agents outside of the state are engaged in. Perhaps most importantly, state agents no longer claim they can `do it alone' (Shearing and Wood, 2003, 401) The development of new ideas and practices in crime prevention extends beyond the narrow preoccupation with reducing the opportunities to commit individual offences, and engages with wider concerns about public safety ­ what is often refereed to as a "harm reduction" or "pan-hazard" orientation. To achieve this aim crime prevention 12

bodies have had to move beyond the law and order paradigm and embrace questions of community coherence; while governments have taken a greater role in encouraging, facilitating and enabling the development of local forms of partnership and community involvement. Community partnerships Since the early 1980s governments across the developed world have actively fostered community participation in policing through community crime prevention and similar local "partnership" initiatives. These have been based on a multi-agency approach and identified community involvement as a key priority in dealing with local crime and disorder issues: local partnership forums were to knit together a diversity of interest groups (government and non-government) to devise local solutions to crime problems. These initiatives focus on the fear of crime and quality of life issues and encourage broad stakeholder involvement in the creation of holistic solutions, in a problem oriented manner (Crawford, 2000). Together these policies significantly reconfigure policy processes, making them less departmentally based, and more likely to cut across portfolios in a way that, hopefully, creates new synergies and releases the energies stymied by imprisonment in outmoded hierarchies. Beyond the public and the private These policies are also likely to involve private as well as public forms of security service. Indeed, so advanced is this process of synchronizing public and private in the area of security that it has led some to question whether the old dichotomy of public and private any longer has relevance. Bayley and Shearing in the work on the new world of policing, for example, prefer the term `multilateralisation' to describe the new configuration of pluralised policing where the boundaries between public and private involvement blur, reflecting the realities of late modern societies in which consumption, leisure and work increasingly take place in a range of `privately owned public spaces' While Rigakos argues that, `Policing has evolved to include a wide variety of social controls that encompass both private and public techniques of governance (Rigakos, 2002)

Another current running through debates over the last decade on partnership and decentralisation relates to the role of the community itself. In the community crime 13

prevention field, communities themselves are now recognised as possessing valuable skills, expertise, knowledge and ideas about their own localities and how they could be made more secure and safe. Also, the emphasis on diverse `hazards' or `harms' enables the emergence of new forms of joint working, co-ordinated planning and resource allocation, targeted on clusters of problems, rather than single issues. `Joined-up' 3 work makes it more likely that the `multiple' problems of communities, and their most vulnerable members, can be dealt with conjointly (these may include issues such as housing, health and mental health, drug and alcohol problems, employment opportunities), rather than in a piece-meal fashion. Holistic and integrated approaches In both the non-Indigenous and Indigenous contexts, it has been recognized that existing professional boundaries and the parcelization of authority, knowledge and resources in to separate institutional entities is actually part of the problem rather than the solution. Improving the interface between community and government, and between government agencies themselves, has become the holy grail of contemporary approaches to governance. Emphasis is being placed on the need to `institution build' (Smith, 2004), through the creation of new crime reduction and community safety partnerships between what have often been conflicting agencies. In the Australian context, this has included strategies aimed at strengthening networks, connections and capacities within local, state and commonwealth agencies and government, developing a body of expertise and new forms of management structure. These processes have gone hand in hand with approaches attempting to cut across existing demarcations between agencies, effort has gone in to managing the tensions between professional groups and between workers and communities.

4. Aboriginal People and Policing

In the context of Indigenous Australians the policing landscape has some unique characteristics, linked to the various roles played by policing in the dispossession,

3 The term is generally believed to have emerged in the UK government's Modernising Government white paper (1999) which made joining up government and frontline agencies to produce more integrated services a top priority. It implies creating new points of connection between the different arms of government, from policy-making through operations to service provision


control, protection and assimilation of Indigenous people, and the often quite direct role policing has played in demarcating the boundaries between Indigenous and nonIndigenous domains. Historically, `policing' has tended to take place at the intersections, frontiers and boundaries of Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies. Historically, policing was an instrument for controlling, limiting, denying or supervising Indigenous egress into the white domain. According to criminologists, this has left a legacy of over-policing of Indigenous people in the public realm ­ where they may constitute a threat to public order ­ and under-policing (underservicing might be a better term) of Indigenous people within their own communities (Cunneen, 2001; Broadhurst, 2004; Blagg and Valurri, 2004 a&b). While the police constantly endeavour to improve relationships with the Indigenous community ­ most recently as part of a number of government initiatives implementing of the recommendations of the `Gordon' inquiry ­ there remain, nevertheless, a number of systemic barriers to harmonious Aboriginal/police relations. Historically, Aboriginal people were not viewed as `part of the public' and were unable to command policing resources in the same way as the non-Indigenous population; this has meant the steady accumulation of what Clifford Shearing calls a `security deficit' that is difficult to fill by mainstream mechanisms (Shearing 2001). Continuing Over-representation Aboriginal people in Western Australia have a far higher chance of being arrested by the police than non-Aboriginal people. Crime Research Centre statistics for 2004 reveal that a thirds of all arrested were Aboriginal (37.2%) and that Aboriginal people were arrested at eight times the rate of non-Indigenous people (Ferrante et al, 2005). Indeed, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of arrests involving Indigenous people (from just over 27% in 1994 to almost 38% in 1994). Annually, roughly fifty percent of juveniles arrested are Aboriginal. `Good order' offences feature prominently (breaches of orders, resist arrest etc) in fifty percent of Indigenous arrests in 2004. Particular concerns have emerged in relation to a disturbing increase in the number of Indigenous women being arrested and imprisoned. At 28.7, Western Australia has the second highest Indigenous to non-Indigenous ratio in Australia after News South Wales. Indigenous women generally serve short sentences for traffic and good order


related offending. The latter, in particular, could be reduced by more effective diversionary options in the community. Clearly, a number of the diversionary strategies initiated since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody have not yet had the desired effect. While juvenile diversionary strategies initiated under the 1994 Young Offenders Act (police cautioning, the juvenile justice teams) have been highly successful in reducing the overall level of juvenile contact with the system (the proportion of arrests involving juveniles has declined from 14.6% in 1994 in 1994 to 11.1% in 2004) it has been less successful in diverting Indigenous youth. Existing diversionary mechanisms, alone, are not sufficient to extend the benefits of diversion to the Indigenous community. `Push' versus `pull' factors This may be due to a complex mix of systemic factors. Traditionally, criminology has tended to split between those favoring explanations of Indigenous over-representation focused on the various `pull factors' drawing Aboriginal people into the system in large numbers (such as over-policing), and those focussing on the `push factors' that increases the likelihood of enmeshment in the system(such as higher rates of Aboriginal offending). Increasingly, however, criminologists are arguing for approaches which break free of these simple binary oppositions and focus attention instead on the complex interplay between a host of inter-connecting systemic, communal and social factors (Cunneen, 2006, 334). In the context of diversion this would require a thorough re-thinking of the way we conceive of gate-keeping alternatives, which currently rely solely on the exercise of police discretionary powers. Focusing instead on the development of a range of local structures and processes capable of preventing crime and disorder while nurturing credible alternatives to the current system. As suggested earlier, developing local systems of this nature requires investment in capacity building processes and investment to build a stock of social capital.

5. Capacity Building


The most useful ­ and simplest - definition of capacity building from an indigenous perspective is offered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner):

capacity building relates to the abilities, skills, understandings, values, relationships, behaviours, motivations, resources and conditions that enable individuals, organisations, sectors and social systems to carry out functions and achieve their development objectives over time (2001: cited by the WA Law Reform Commission, 2006(a), 426).

Community Patrols also contribute to capacity building in Aboriginal communities, in terms of the structures and processes required for building resilience in Indigenous communities and strengthening organizations. The `Gordon Inquiry' (Gordon et al 2002) found that Patrols were a vital element in local `coordination and capacity building' (Gordon et al, 2002, 19). Capacity building is fundamentally about taking ownership, achieving independence, effecting self-governance and enhancing selfconfidence. Policing mechanisms owned by local communities, what Shearing calls `local capacity policing' (Shearing, 1994), can enhance capacity building processes. The Western Australian Law Reform Commission's Customary Law (2006) inquiry stressed the importance of `capacity building' when nurturing governance structures in Aboriginal communities - but attaches an important caveat to the discussion. Capacity building processes, the commission suggests, must encapsulate both communities and the agencies partnering with them. This is an important rider because initiatives often flounder because of a fundamental lack of capacity within mainstream organizations to understand the particular values, beliefs and aspirations of local Aboriginal communities. Social capital Mainstream communities function better than marginal communities for a host of complex reasons. Social theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu, 1980; see also Bourdieu and Wacquant 1996) and Ronald Putnam (2000), have pointed to the importance of `social capital', as opposed to simply economic wealth, in the creation and maintenance of social equilibrium. While these theorist place emphasis on


different structures (Bourdieu, 1986, for example, places greater emphasis on the links between social capital and social class, than does Putnam), there both stress the significance of social networks in the creation and maintenance of healthy community. According to Bourdieu and Wacquant (2002):

Social capital is the sum of resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network or more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 2002, 119)

Social capital refers to potential value that inheres in social relationships between people. Putnam (2000) describes social capital thus:

Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals ­ social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what some have called `civic virtue.' The difference is that `social capital' calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a sense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital (Putnam, 2000, 19). The concept is useful in connection with Aboriginal communities, with one important caveat. While Aboriginal communities are in significant deficit in terms of the mainstream market in social capital, the Aboriginal domain is endowed with its own unique forms of social capital, around Aboriginal law and culture, which do provide `network(s) of reciprocal social relations' with their own norms of reciprocity. The problem is that it is difficult to exchange these forms of capital within the mainstream system. There is no necessary equivalence between relationships which carry


authority and respect in the Indigenous domain and those extant in the non-Indigenous world. 4 Indeed, there is a high degree of incommensurability between the two. A factor which has made interface between the two world highly problematic and it is not easy to `line up' Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal systems of authority. It is clear, for example, that Aboriginal law itself, while still effective in regulating a constellation of social relationships in the Indigenous sphere, was not evolved to deal with issues such as petrol sniffing, endemic family violence, burglary and school truancy, which are products of contact with the non-Indigenous world. Creative hybridity Ways need to be found to bridge the two cultures in ways that can allow Aboriginal people to build the necessary social capital in the mainstream and make Aboriginal capital currency in the mainstream. The former can be dealt with by enhancing opportunities for Aboriginal people to gain the skills necessary to operate in the mainstream (education and training etc) and the latter can be achieved by encouraging processes of `constructive hybridity' (Blagg, 2005). These hybrids are not traditional Aboriginal structures, as such, but they constitute mechanisms through which important Aboriginal values, beliefs and principles can be incorporated into the mainstream system and form a bridge between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal notions of justice. There are a number of examples of creative hybridity: they include practices such as community justice groups; Aboriginal courts and circle sentencing courts; restorative justice initiatives; family group conferencing processes; and, Aboriginal community patrols. These kinds of initiative are often classified under the heading of `community justice mechanisms' (Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, 2006). Blagg (2005) identifies a number of common features, which include: ·

a strong focus on achieving sustainability, durability and resilience in structures, processes and programmes;

4 See the various background papers, and the discussion paper, produced by the West Australian Law reform Commission's Aboriginal Customary Law Reference at as well as the recently released Discussion Paper 94, discussed below.


· · ·

a willingness to take into account Aboriginal law and culture in the way structures, processes and programmes are devised and executed; a commitment to nurturing the necessary governance structures; a process of capacity building both in Aboriginal communities and in the government agencies that partner with them (Blagg, 2005, 7).

The requirement to capacity build and construct processes that are resilient, durable and sustainable lies at the heart of contemporary thinking on governance in Indigenous communities. We have already referred to the fact that debates about governance are central to current discourse around the future of Aboriginal communities. Improved Governance There is no universally accepted and agreed definition of `governance'. It remains an elusive concept - defined and conceptualised in different ways. Large organisations and community groups may hold opposing definitions of the role and essential nature of governance processes. According to the Governance Project, big organisations tend to maintain a definition of what traditional communities want which tends to reflect their own world views, in particular they believed, mistakenly, that these communities wanted to grow to be like them and their development would follow a similar linear path (Kumar and Nunan, 2003). As in other areas, there is a general unwillingness to accept that groups such as Indigenous peoples may have more complex objectives, such as rescuing and safeguarding what remains of their traditional domain, culture and way of life, rather than simply embracing global modernity in its dominant form (Marshall-Beier, 2004, 88). Governance in this context may contain a different set of meanings from those generated within mainstream institutions. In the context of Australia's Indigenous people (Smith, 2005) suggests that the term has been imported to describe an array of process from service delivery through to self-determination, it has generated unrealistic expectations and a great deal of conceptual confusion. Theorists and commentators do agree that governance processes imply the mobilisation of entities outside the traditional systems of `state' or `government' It has been associated with neo-liberal economic and social policies, and the `emptying out of the state', linked with new forms of government/community


partnerships where the state `steers' rather than `rows. However the term has also been picked up by those anxious to seen new, more democratic forms of local participation (Shearing and Wood, 2003). Smith suggests that governance, in the Indigenous context: ...focuses our attention outside the more formal realm of government, on to the wider set of actors and networks ­ those individuals, agents, organizations, private sector interests, and non-government organisations involved in delivering services, representing groups and negotiating resource allocation. The term governance directs our attention on the interaction of self-organising networks at many different levels, and the relative power and relationships between them, and between these networks and government (Smith, 2005: 9). The need to address issues of governance in this way has been explored in the Harvard Project on American Indian Development. This project identified selfmanagement and devolved community decision making powers as the corner stone of Indigenous governance 5 . While the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner viewed governance as being about `structures and processes for decision making' including `stewardship, leadership direction, control, authority and accountability' (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice, 2001). The question of what constitutes effective Aboriginal governance systems has been addressed in a major review of the justice system and Aboriginal people released recently by the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. In its review of Aboriginal law in Western Australia, the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia argues that much of the `entrenched Indigenous disadvantage' experienced by Aboriginal communities, `stems from a lack of infrastructure and essential government services to Aboriginal communities' (Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, 2006(a): 422). The commission notes, however, that the failure of previous initiatives has often been the result of a tendency to perceive Aboriginal communities as `passive recipients of services rather than active participants' (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner cited in Law

5 See


Reform Commission of Western Australia, 2006: 425) and goes on to recommend that Aboriginal communities be empowered to partner with service providers to create service streams of relevance to the needs of particular communities. Aboriginal Terms of Reference We noted earlier that mainstream notions of Best Practice need to be modified when addressing Indigenous communities. Aboriginal communities and government agencies may share common objectives (crime reduction, increased community safety, reduced incarceration) but may have radically different understandings of the processes necessary to achieve them. When developing initiatives funding bodies and agencies tend to focus primarily on issues related to budgets, reporting and management, administration and so on, and give secondary importance on the need to ensue projects are culturally embedded. Ryan (2006) discusses this problem in relation to Night Patrols in the Northern Territory: arguing that much of the policy debate about Patrols has taken place around issues not of central importance to Aboriginal people and have done, "little to inform (Aboriginal people) about the purpose, role and place of night patrols...and within other social, cultural and political structures" He goes on to argue: The debate about night patrols is yet to properly focus on important Indigenous concepts and requirements that may be necessary for the successful implementation of night patrols (Ryan, 2006, 1). . Ryan demonstrates this through a discussion of the principles underpinning the Kurduju Crime Prevention Committee, a body created by Aboriginal women from the communities of Ali-Curung, Lajamanu and Yuendumu. These women had founded their own Night Patrols and Safe Houses as well as the successful Mount Theo petrol sniffing diversionary program. They did so by working through traditional law and cultural processes and ensuring that communities had a strong voice in how the processes should operate. Ryan notes the importance of `workshopping' issues over a period of time, to `identifying community capacity, and the likely strengths and impediments that may effect the process. These can vary from community to community' (Ryan2006, 3). The workshops should include a number of separate male


and female sessions, followed by joint meetings. This culturally appropriate process are necessary so that the divergent views of men and women can be identified.

6. Aboriginal Community Patrols

The origins and development of Aboriginal Community Patrols ­ known as Night patrols in the Northern Territory - has already been covered elsewhere (see Blagg and Valuri, 2001, 2003, 2004a&b). However a brief summary of their history and why they have been established is a useful backdrop to this study. The 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody brought the work of Patrols to national attention when it commended the Julalikari Night Patrol at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory as a positive example of `voluntary community policing'. Julalikari Patrol emerged because of Aboriginal people's `dissatisfaction with policing in their communities' (Langton, 1991, 439) and because no government security agencies were intervening to halt `the escalating violence, trauma and deaths in the town-camps' (Curtis, 1992, 2). Curtis argued that the purpose of the patrol was to resolve, or head off, disputes before they became un-manageable (Curtis 1992, 5).

The 1991 Royal Commission recommended that the Julalikari model be considered for use in other communities, as a means both of improving Aboriginal/police relations and achieving `substantially lower crime rates' (Johnson, 1991, vol 5,

Recommendation 220). Influenced by Julalikari, Community Patrols of various kinds were instigated across Australia. In Western Australia, for example, the Kullari Street Patrol was established in Broome (West Kimberly) in 1992, followed quickly by 12 others between 1993 and 1995; while, in the Northern Territory, upwards of 50 Patrols were, notionally, in existence by the late 1990s (Higgins, 1997). Nationally upwards of 135 Patrols may be in operation at any one time.

Patrols operate without police powers and rely on mediation and persuasion to move people on from risky situations. Most claim that they rely on `cultural authority' to achieve results and they rely on their local knowledge of Aboriginal families and issues to navigate their way through and resolve situations which may, in the hands of state authorities, deteriorate into violence and disorder. An evaluation of Patrols undertaken on behalf of DIA by the Crime Research Centre (2003) found that a


number of local concerns had prompted the emergence of patrols in WA. Respondents identified the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) as a catalyst for a number of community based initiatives around diversion from the criminal justice system ­ particularly around detention for alcohol related issues. There were also concerns about substance abuse, including `chroming', solvents and petrol, particularly by young people. Concerns about anti-social behaviour by young people and a perceived need to form a `buffer' between Aboriginal people and police were also cited.

A number of WA patrols were established to intervene to persuade Indigenous youth to move away from places where they might attract attention from the police or provoke antagonism from businesses and head off conflicts between Aboriginal people, adults and youth, and the community and police. Others identified issues such as the need to protect property and reduce car theft; improve the health, safety and well-being of Aboriginal people; reduce high rates of domestic and family violence; and reduce problems arising from truancy.

Triangulating data from sources such as police lock up admissions and a number of local studies of the impact of patrols involved in the management of alcohol issues, Blagg and Valuri (2001) concluded that many patrols had made a significant difference in key areas such as admission to lock ups for drink related issues, and there was some anecdotal evidence to suggest that they lowered domestic violence related offending. Some of the most dramatic changes occurred in the Kimberly region where patrols such as Marralla (Fitzroy Crossing) had made a significant impact on rates of detentions in police lock ups. Cost Benefits of Patrols The research also indicated that Patrols ensured cost savings for key agencies, particularly the police. Indeed an annexe to the report by Margaret Giles (a labour economist) projected considerable cost reductions from the presence of a community patrol. These costs savings could be grouped in areas such as interactions with the criminal justice system, health services, educational services and other community services. Giles saw potential savings accruing in a number of areas if Patrols were 24

well resourced and working in with other community justice mechanisms. These included: · · · · · · · · savings from reduced detentions, arrests and charges for adults and juveniles; reduced remand in custody; improved sentencing options for adults and juveniles; reductions in child abuse notifications; decreased property crime (vandalism, arson, burglary, shoplifting and car theft); reduced Aboriginal deaths in custody; reduced number and severity of car crashes; reduced police patrols, and; reduced fear of crime/increased community peace, security and safety.

Giles also envisaged cost savings in the area of health, around emergency admissions, fewer ambulance call-outs and mental health interventions, and in education, around reduced truancy and increased high school retention rates. Crime Prevention and Community Patrols Aboriginal communities urgently need support in reducing levels of crime and violence. One barrier is the particular lies in the particular negative set of associations created by the term `crime prevention' itself for Aboriginal communities (Homel, Lincoln and Herd, 1999). Community consultation in Carnarvon undertaken by the Law Reform Commission are typical, there was a strong perception that `crime prevention' perpetuated traditional exclusionary policies by other means: `they (the white community) think Aboriginal people are the `criminals' and the purpose of crime prevention is to have them arrested and moved out of town (Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, 2006, 32) There may still be some residual beliefs that `crime prevention' is focused on Aboriginal people, rather than existing to support Aboriginal people. Existing research, however, strongly indicates that Patrols already believe themselves to be playing a crime prevention role. Blagg and Valuri's national profile of Community Patrols found strong evidence that Patrols viewed their work in crime prevention 25

terms. However, while Patrols see their work in crime prevention terms, they are not necessarily networked with crime prevention bodies. Schemes in WA have tended to work at a distance form mainstream crime prevention organisations. Only in New South Wales is there a direct structural link between Aboriginal Community Patrols and crime prevention. In the Northern Territory the Office of Crime Prevention plays a limited role in terms of capacity building and providing some non recurrent funding for Patrols.

Blagg and Valurri's national review of patrols found that the overwhelming majority worked proactively to prevent incidents from becoming enflamed or headed off potentially risky situations. Many reported policing known `hot spots' and `hot times' as part of their routine work (Blagg and Valurri, 2000). Jennifer Walker coordinators of the Remote Area Night Patrol unit of Tangentyere Council in central Australia maintains that crime prevention is the core function of patrols on remote communities (personal communication, see also Walker and Forrester, 2002 and Appendix 2 of this report.). Developing Good Practice Developing good practice in relation to Community Patrols requires assembling knowledge in a number of key areas. We have discussed the issue of governance and the need to acknowledge a cluster of specifically Indigenous concerns when creating models of Best Practice for Indigenous communities. Best Practice models which begin from within Indigenous frames of reference will inevitably have a cultural basis and set out from dialogue with Aboriginal people, rather than on the basis of knowledge, beliefs and priorities derived from the western `What Works' paradigm. Negotiation is key. One useful mechanism for ensuring that dialogue takes place is the `negotiating table' model evolved in Queensland.


Negotiation tables are a method increasingly being employed in many Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to resolve priority issues at the local level. They involve a sustained process of consultation, planning and negotiation between community leaders and local, state and federal. In some cases Government



`champions' lead this process. They identify community needs, develop local plans, pin down government to develop all of government responses and agree on performance measurement and reporting mechanisms.

Local justice committees established under the Western Australian Aboriginal Justice Plan may also play a valuable role in brokering dialogue between agencies and local communities.

Before reviewing the views of local patrols in Western Australia it may be useful to summarise some of the key points:


Acknowledge the relevance and authority of law and culture and the existence of a sperate `Aboriginal domain' ­ in particular: o acknowledge the authority of local elders and people of significance, respect men and women's law and culture, o accept that Aboriginal people live within the two legal spheres, not just one; o recognise that Aboriginal law is as pervasive as non-Aboriginal law.


Build links with other existing local justice mechanisms ­ Aboriginal people may already be working on some facet of the problem, add value to these processes rather than impose new structures `from above'

· ·

Invest in training; build up a skills base, and ; Develop forms of management sensitive to the cultural environment in which Patrols operate, including family and clan relationships and the specific stresses encountered by Patrollers, as well as the limitations family, clan and `law' places upon Patrollers;


data collection and dissemination is important. However and there needs to be investment in developing ways of capturing knowledge which work to the strengths of Aboriginal people. Some forms of data collection, while they


may meet basic reporting requirements fail to capture the cultural skills and working processes of Patrols; · Identify through processes of negotiation the suite of local issues of concern to Aboriginal communities and develop strategies which tackle the issues in an integrated and holistic fashion; · · diversionary and referral options and inter-agency coordination; The role patrols play in strengthening local justice mechanisms.

Patrol can help to build capacity. Returning to a point we made earlier, social capital, what works, governance and capacity need to be read within Aboriginal terms of reference. The cultural capital of the Aboriginal domain requires recognition as being valuable (see the discussion of Cunneen's work above), and forms of cultural authority.

7. Aboriginal Patrols and Best Practice

The following sections address the issue of Best Practice by focusing on the experience of a number of patrols in Western Australia. The intention of the interviews with patrols and local partners was to ascertain the factors they believed important in sustaining initiatives.

There is no one fits all working model for patrols. Practices vary sharply depending on local context. If there is one over-riding message from the research it is that local circumstances dictate the working methods of patrols, a unitary model cannot be imposed from above. The presence of a well established sobering up shelter in Hedland has given the local patrol a secure base. The shelter is also a catalyst and the site for a number of complementary programs around family violence. The Garl Garl Walbu shelter in Derby plays a similar role. It sits at the heart of a number of local family violence initiatives, particularly the Jayida Burru Family Violence Prevention Forum and works closely with the Numbud Patrol. In sharp contrast the sobering up shelter in Fitzroy Crossing plays a largely residual role in the town. Many of the services offered through the Hedland and Derby shelters are provided through


Nindalingarri Cultural Health which has a cultural mandate to provide services around family violence, health promotion and strong families - indeed there are plans to reduce the role of the shelter further, it will be used as a base for new outreach and alcohol prevention programs and cease to cater for drunks. Moreover, the Marrala Patrol in Fitzroy never saw its role in terms of servicing the sober up shelter, preferring to take people home before they became too inebriated ­ Aboriginal law prevented them from picking up drunk people (they might be held responsible and subject to pay back if that person dies or gets sick, or there may be `avoidance' relationships).

8. Ngoodagardy Patrol South Hedland

This patrol operates as part of the Port Hedland Sobering Up Centre Group Inc. which runs a number of programs focused on community developments, support and assistance. Along side the patrol and shelter this organization runs Hedland Homeless Support Service (funded by DCD) and a Family Violence program (funded by DOTAG). The shelter's goal is to offer support services within a care oriented environment for those found intoxicated and diverted from police lock-ups. The homelessness initiative provides a support service, crisis accommodation and counseling, it also offers a breakfast program and an outreach service to people sleeping rough.

Hedland has a number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations involved in issues such as crime prevention, alcohol abuse, family violence, juvenile crime and anti-social behavior, and problems associated with the influx of visitors from remote communities. The consensus amongst agencies in the area is that coordination and planning, rather than a lack of resources per se, represents the major problem in the area. Many respondents considered improved coordination to be the key to servicing the Indigenous community. There was still a strong feeling within Indigenous organizations, however, that the relative disparities in wealth between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people represents a major source of frustration for Aboriginal people, especially young people. The area generates significant wealth, while Aboriginal people remain largely excluded from the social and economic benefits.


Community visitors The increasing number of community visitors to the town from remote communities has fueled local concerns about `trenchies', and people congregating outside the South Hedland shopping complex. This issue had captured media attention and polarized opinion in the town. The issue of visitors raises issues for the Patrol and shelter as well as for other Aboriginal organizations. Processes are underway to build better facilities in the camps adjacent to the town and provide services to these groups. Similar processes are underway in Broome and Geraldton in WA, Darwin (NT) and Cairns (Queensland). In Darwin, the Larrakia are piloting a scheme where people from remote communities are offered support to return to communities; Larrakia provide the airfare which is then deducted by Centrelink.

The Ngoodagardy patrol runs from the sobering up shelter and has been in operation since 1997. It aims to make a positive contribution to reductions in anti-social behavior, support the police and act as a conduit for better services to Aboriginal people. Like many patrols in Western Australia (see Blagg and Valuri 2001) the patrol has been influenced by the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, especially in relation to diversion from police lock-ups. However, management at the centre were anxious to point out that they see the patrol as only one element in a range of integrated services and did not operate as a stand alone service. They identified Best Practice in terms of the provision of locally controlled and integrated services.

For the latter it receives funding from DIA, $57,000, and BHP, $150,000/year committed for 2 years. The BHP money is given to DIA, and then the patrol is funded via DIA. The patrol has had funding since April, 2005. Because of the BHP funding, the patrol has been able to employ 2 full time patrollers. BHP has organized a `credit' system with the Ambulance service which entitles them to16 trips/year ($500/trip). The sobering up shelter receives funding of $230,000/year which covers approx 60 people per week and in morning approx 40 people for breakfast. Also, patrollers who have been on CDEP for awhile are taken on fulltime (receive CDEP with a top up). In total 15 workers are now employed. Training is carried out by Pilbara Tafe - Tuesday


is training day. The Patrol operates from 4pm to 12pm but does not operate Saturday night because its base at the Sobering up shelter is closed on Saturday nights, due to funding constraints, the shelter acknowledges this makes the service less effective. It employs the PICASSO ­ database program which Health run to collect information. On Saturday they pick up 40-50 people, average up to 60.

Those working on patrol see themselves as preventing people from getting harmed. They also said that `the bus is for everyone, not just Aboriginal people'; who ever needs help or have no place to go. The patrollers pick up a lot of teenagers and women as well as men ­ mainly involved in alcohol and family fights. BHP Funding for the Patrol BHP sees its involvement with the patrol and shelter as part of its commitment both to the cultural health of local Indigenous people and to the needs of its workforce. They have become concerned about the lack of understanding of the culture and lifestyle of Indigenous people by their workforce. BHP already runs a 1 day cultural awareness programs for their staff through the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. These are run to educate people about Aboriginal culture. They have found people who move to the area to be ill-informed about Aboriginal culture, and wrongly assume, for example, that groups of Aboriginal people sitting out on the side of the road to be drinking or itinerant. They are unaware that this is normal behavior, and sometimes call in the police to remove them. They sometime become frustrated when the police do not immediately move them on ­ the police say that they this is because they often have not been drinking and have committed no offence.

There is a general perception locally that Aboriginal people are a `law and order issue' and that an Aboriginal `problem' exist. BHP worker related that Aboriginal law and crime issues were the major theme in many of the workshops - high rates of crime were attributed to Aboriginal people, including antisocial behaviour, burglary, kids breaking into cars, street drinking. There have been demands from some quarters for the introduction of a curfew for Aboriginal youth, with some backing in the local shire. From the BHP perspective there were strong reasons to fund the Patrol. BHP wants to be involved at the community level and has a responsibility to educate its


employees about the local Aboriginal community, as well as provide services employment opportunities and training for Aboriginal people. They are committed to giving 1% of gross revenue back to community ­ this will soon reach over $10 million. Alcohol restrictions The local perception among non-Indigenous people is that it's the Aboriginal community's fault that there are restrictions for on alcohol for everyone and that alcohol is an Aboriginal problem. The actual reason for the restrictions is the high volume of alcohol consumption generally in the area. Under the restrictions there are no bottle sales on Sunday, sales 11am ­ 9pm (under the Alcohol Accord). Main problem The main problem from the Patrol's perspective lie in the marginal social and economic position of Indigenous people who remain largely excluded from employment. There are problem related also to truancy and non attendance at school, and itinerate people staying longer in the towns, mentioned above, which places additional strain on local services, and leads to further over-crowding in Aboriginal families. The sustainability of many remote communities is under threat. Young people, in particular, were moving into towns. Although there were differing accounts locally, with some saying that young people do not want to stay out in remote communities; while others said that they do, providing there were some opportunities to earn money and have access to town. There was a view that people were literally being sucked in to towns because that's were the services are, medical treatment is available, and people their follow kin. Eventually there comes a tipping point where communities become unsustainable.

Patrollers would like to see people coming into this community respect the local people because Aboriginal people in Hedland are blamed for the problems caused by people coming into town and `getting into the grog'. They are often from remote communities where alcohol is not permitted and they let their hair down when they visit town. Some stay too long and can't get back to their communities. Night Patrol picks them up but there needs to be a long term solution. Patrollers were interested in the Larrakea Protocols in Darwin which set out the communities expectations 32

regarding appropriate behavior from visitors. As part of the local response to the issues associated with community visitors the shelter is partnering with DIA to develop a set of cultural protocols and the development of a transport strategy to assist visitors return to their communities.

There was considerable concerns about groups of hyper-marginalized young people who were not being controlled by either white-fella or black-fella law. They are the off-spring of the "ditchies" era - when Aboriginal people began to drift in to town from remote communities like Strelley because they were drinkers or involved in `wrong way' relationships. At first the "Strong Men" 7 committees used to take them back, but this ceased to happen when the men were criticized by welfare groups for being too aggressive. These children, it was said, were difficult to control, they had no family connections, their parents were often dead, and had only tenuous links with their parent's Aboriginal communities. They have no skills or schooling and were beyond the control of the Aboriginal community or the police. It is this group, elders who worked on the patrol and others in the town said required a new initiative. 8 Other agencies, such as the local Youth Involvement Council, saw the need for long term youth strategy in the area ­ currently 40% of the youth population is under 24 and the issue is `coming at us like a freight train' according to a local youth worker. This latter point was reinforced by workers on the Strong Families initiative, who were also critical of what they saw as an abrogation of responsibility by local hoteliers who seemed unconcerned by the damage being done to children, young people and families by irresponsible and lax policies on purchasing alcohol, `patrols pick up the mess created by unscrupulous hoteliers' one said. Truancy Patrol There had been a successful truancy program run by the Patrol which picked kids up and ensured they went to school. This has been cut due to lack of funding. The Patrol related that the truancy patrol had been effective in keeping at risk youth from being enmeshed in the criminal justice system. They said that after one week without the

7 The `Ten Strong Men' or `Ten Man' committee, operated from the Strelley Community some years ago, (until the 1990s) to pick up people up drinking in Hedland and take them back to the community to face community justice. 8 See also the community consultations for the Aboriginal Customary Law report of the Western Australian Law Reform Commission at,


service 12 kids had ended up in the Children's Court, nine of whom were youths that were had regularly being taken to school under the truancy program. All these young people have ended up at Banksia Hill detention centre, it was said. A high proportion of students at schools are Aboriginal and it is understood that non-attendance is a significant problem, which frequently led to trouble with the police.

There were concerns about increase in drug use in 10-15 yr olds ­ amphetamine was a growing problem, with highly volatile types ­ such as Red Mitsubishis ­ being widely available. Senior Aboriginal men working on the Patrol said that there needed to be a fresh strategy specifically tailored for this group of young people who did not seem to respect, or fear, either Aboriginal or white-fella law. They wanted to see an initiative involving the police, local agencies, the courts and senior members of local Aboriginal communities to deal with the issue. One strategy could be to have a program based in the bush where young men could be taken ­ a model mentioned was a Strong Men, Strong Families program run by a senior man (Greg Tucker) in Roebourne. They said the police and courts needed to be included because, while the program could have community referrals, there would need to be an element of `coercion' involved ­ `sticks as well as carrots'.

The sobering up shelter has relied heavily on CDEP in the past. CDEP will become more a job network organization, like other network organization, with job placements. CDEP place up to 6 participants ­ 36 hrs with top up to 72 hrs. The Sobering up shelter has provided a place that prepares them for employment, job skilling, training, mediation. Training is in-house done by Ray Fischer who is an accredited trainer. Training covers security ­ accredited training and Cert IV in counseling. There is pressure to provide training as part of any job program involving Indigenous people. There is particular emphasis on Capacity building ­ Federal Govt trying to get State govt to get involved. Respect for Law and Culture The Patrols workers emphasized the importance of Aboriginal law and culture. Patrol workers and many of the people they dealt with were bound by Aboriginal law and this governed their dealings with people. They needed to be constantly mindful of this because there were `avoidance' and other skin related issues to consider. Most 34

patrollers had family and skin relations with the groups they dealt with ­ making it essential that there was a mix of people on the patrol from different clan and skin groups. This made it possible to identify and communicate effectively with people. On the other hand a close relationship may also require the requisite avoidance protocols ­ there are some people a patroller may not be able to look at, let alone touch. There issues are complex and, it was said, negotiating them is crucial for the integrity and success of a patrol and the safety of patrollers, who might break Aboriginal law by being forced to have inappropriate contact with certain people ­ and therefore liable to face `pay-back'. Patrollers also need to be aware of any friction or conflict between clan groups.

It is useful to have a balance between `cultural insiders' ­ those closely bound by the local culture ­ and `cultural outsider' who are not bound by the local culture and able to have direct contact with local people. It is essential, therefore, to have a mix of people (men women, different skin/clan groups, different ages) working in the patrol so that there is sufficient variety to deal with all situations.

One issue identified by patrollers was the difficulty in finding appropriate and safe places for people ­ not everyone needs a sober up service, there are many young people for home the sober-up shelter is not an appropriate option, there are also people escaping family violence. They try to find relative and friends and local knowledge helps. Some Aboriginal women do not want to use domestic violence services. Relationships with the Police and other Agencies A strong and positive relationship with the police was identified as an essential part of best practice. The patrol and shelter enjoy a good relationship with Police which has built up over the years ­ they offer mutual support. Each knows the strengths and limitations of its role. The Police will call the Patrol if people need to get a lift home, instead of taking to the lock-up. Partnership at a local level with DIA was also important: not simply because of funding but in terms of DIA's brokerage role with agencies and communities.


The police also had respect for the role performed by the patrol and the shelter describing them as a `fantastic tool' particularly in relation to diverting people from lock-ups. The police saw a need for a specific initiative for young people ­ along the lines of Geraldton's Street Workers program, which offers an outreach service to young people and diverts them in to positive initiatives. Rehabilitation Patrollers in Hedland wanted to see a rehabilitation centre ­ perhaps based on the Milliya Rumurra model in Broome, to help people change their lives. There was also interest in the Men's Outreach service in Broome. The patrollers underlined the need for partnership between patrol services and other relevant agencies. They have an important role to play in dealing with issues on the street and preventing alcohol related violence but they have their limitations. Some of these are cultural. For example, they can identify children at risk but culture may prevent them from confronting parents regarding their children's behaviour. They need support from the justice system youth workers and police to do that. Pilbara Patrols workshop- South Hedland Attended by Roebourne Sobering Up Shelter Inc & Mingga Patrol, Newman Patrol, Hedland Patrol along with staff from DIA.

The workshop focused on a number of the barriers faced by patrols as well as the strengths and skills necessary to do the work effectively.

Core business for patrols in the area included: o taking intoxicated people off the street to a safe place; o Getting drinks away from drink spots; o Preventing deaths in custody; o Preventing harm to people and property; o Reducing the chances of Aboriginal people getting stuck in the system.

The key principle Aboriginal workers adhered to was that whatever they did `must promote culture, language and heritage'. It had to increase rather than reduce Aboriginal self-esteem. A participant said: 36

Too often it (intervention by the system) leads to our people feeling disempowered and demoralised. We must work in a way that builds people up, not knock them down. People need to be treated with respect.

The workshop saw Best Practice in terms of constant networking with local agencies, educating the community about what they do and ensuring the best governance practices were in place. They saw a need for a range of resources and strategies to be made available. Included in these were: · · · · local resource centres; rehab programs ­ including camps and out-stations run by Aboriginal communities; harm minimisation strategies ­ agreed to by all players; liquor accords ­ government should be strict on licensing.

Sound governance was essential and patrols needed support to ensure this was achieved. Patrols needed a marketing plan and attraction and retention strategies. Patrollers said that respect for law and culture underpinned good practice, along with understanding of local issues. The following `care' principles were raised in discussion: · · · · · · Care for people; Get them home safe; Understand culture; Understand drinkers; Provide support for people 24/7; Always use a problem solving approach.

The major barriers to achieving best practice lay in a number of areas: · · Not enough funding; Retaining and attracting good workers ­ reasons why included: o Some cultural barriers; o Don't want the abuse Patrollers get; o Don't want to be out late at night for CDEP rates;


o Don't want the shame of picking up family; o No driver's license. · · Not enough vehicles; Not enough support from other agencies and the community.

West Kimberley Patrols Workshop ­ Derby. This workshop was attended by representatives from Kullari Patrol (Broome); Men's Outreach Service (Broome); Nindilingarri Health (Fitzroy Crossing); Derby Sobering Up Shelter; Numud Patrol (Derby); Derby police, Milliya Rumurra (Broome); Mowanjum community; Derby Family Healing Centre.

The workshop focussed on a range of issues including: o Funding problems; o local management issues and;

o alcohol reduction strategies.

There was a strong message that patrols needed to do more than just pick up drunks, there needed to be a diversity of services available. The issues confronted by patrols varied depending on local context but tended to focus in problems associated with alcohol abuse and family violence. Kullari Patrol has a number of particular problems ­ similar to those in Hedland ­ of handling a burgeoning population of people migrating to Broome from remote communities and staying on ­ creating problems for families and increasing the alcohol and anti-social behaviour problem. Besides alcohol issues drugs had become a major concern for communities, these now included amphetamines as well as cannabis.

Patrols were actively involved in the development of local actions strategies to reduce problem behaviour and were involved in local justice plans and strategies under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, many already had structures in place which dealt with crime prevention issues:

o Derby had a strong inter-agency and community structure based in the town based on the Jayda Burru Family Violence Prevention Forum which brought


together agencies and community groups to prevent family violence by focussing on young people; o Fitzroy Crossing was developing its own local plan with a focus on strengthening Aboriginal law. There was some criticism of agencies neglecting communities outside the Broome area and not doing enough to liaise with community groups; o Patrollers were interested in seeing more integrated services on a local basis, and there was support for more healing centres in the region where patrols could take people involved in family violence, run along Aboriginal cultural principles.

The major issue for Patrols ­ it was generally agree ­ was the need to ensure they retained the cultural authority to do their work. This required that patrols remain embedded in local culture and respected Aboriginal law. `Avoidance' protocols had to be respected and patrols had to have the right balance of people (men, women, different skin groups).

The workshop agreed that patrols offered a culturally secure basis for crime prevention initiatives focussed in anti-social behaviour and alcohol related violence and that crime prevention bodies should not re-invent the wheel by setting up local crime prevention initiatives from scratch; but should add value to the structures and processes already in train in the locality.

9. Yamatji Patrol

The Yamatji patrol is one of the longest running patrols in Western Australia having been established in 1993 in the wake of concerns about youth disorder in Geraldton. Currently the Patrol employs 13 workers, and runs two vehicles. Yamatji has evolved its practice to include a focus on family violence intervention and the reduction of violence. Yamatji also acts as a strong advocate for Aboriginal people in the area and has taken a lead role in the long running Geraldton Aboriginal Reference Group (GARG) and the suite of early intervention initiatives auspicated under the Geraldton Cyclical Offending Intervention Project. Yamatji provides an excellent model of an initiative that has credibility with local stake-holders, the Aboriginal community and


the police, and has achieved sustainability. The focus on family violence is particularly noteworthy because the patrol itself identified the gap in services for Indigenous women escaping family violence and saw the need to develop a service that provided support for women, mediation and cooling off options for Aboriginal men.

The police acknowledge the contribution the patrol makes to reducing disorder and reducing the numbers of Aboriginal people in lock-ups, particularly drunken detainees. The police have concerns about people from Meekatharra and Wiluna, coming into Geraldton more often and staying longer. This leads to problems of housing over-crowding: sometimes 20-30 people living in a house. This also exacerbates social order problems, such as large groups of youths fighting and large groups drinking. The Patrol handles these incidents well by getting involved early, picking them up and taking them home. These developments place more pressure on law enforcement and welfare agencies. Police will take people to sobering up shelter but usually the Patrol does it. Police views about what makes for good practice include having sound and reliable communication, knowledge of each other's roles and responsibilities and willingness to support each other.

Yamatji argues that Best Practice ideas need to be shared more between Patrols, Patrols are often quite isolated, a series of local workshops run by DIA in 2005/6 were particularly useful for sharing information and knowledge. Of particular use in terms of developing Best Practice were workshops on `verbal judo' run by Will King ­ an ex police officer from Perth, and a workshop on first aid. Patrol workers would also benefit from more input on legal issues and how the white law operates. There also needs to be clarity about the limits and boundaries of patrol work. For example, should they be filling gaps in services that other agencies are being funded to perform, such as transporting people to hospital? ·

Firstly, Yamatji enjoys strong support from within the Aboriginal community. This gives it its mandate to act on their behalf and in their interests. `Confidentiality' is crucial to the maintenance of this relationship. Aboriginal people trust Yamatji and they have respect for them because of this. Aboriginal people know that Yamatji does not pass on information about 40

clients to other agencies. People can share information knowing it will stay safe. Yamtji workers will not report kids to police but will encourage or try to get them to go to the police themselves. Building trust with the Aboriginal community is `the corner stone and essential'. Open communication with people leads to trust. Some of the Yamatji Patrollers have been there for nearly 10 yrs. This is because of the trust built up with the Yamtaji people and because the Patrol is are `family' · Secondly, Yamtji looks after its staff. It is a dangerous job with anti-social hours and Patrollers have to put up with abuse from their own people. `Keep your workers' is the biggest challenge. Team work is essential. The supervisor should not be a dictator, need to work along side and with the other patrollers. · Thirdly, building skills and training are crucial. There needs to be ongoing training integrated into the job. There are numerous skill to acquire and pass on and it should be a fundamental principle of those working with Aboriginal people to improve the skill level and provide an upwards ladder. The basic skills required by patrollers include, advocacy, first aid and counseling skills, as well as a knowledge of `verbal judo'. Moreover, the training package needed to embedded in, and evolve out of, the work place rather than the classroom and should reflect the kinds of real situations patrollers find themselves in. · Fourthly, good communication/understanding with other agencies is also essential, in particular good working relationship with police are needed. Patrols and police may not always agree on everything and Patrols have to stand their ground where the police are concerned. Yamatji has good working relationships with the police which have developed over the years. Sometimes we need to remind them that we are independent and relevant: when we close down for a week in summer the police quickly remember what life was like before we were set up. · Fifthly, being involved in the development of local initiatives is important. The Yamatji Family Violence Advocacy unit has been a good local innovation. Police work hand in hand with Family Violence Unit. The unit works out of the patrol office on some shifts because some Aboriginal people feel more comfortable going to Patrol office rather than to the units office.


Yamatji Patrol and the has provided an alternative to the use of arrest and prosecution in family violence. The Patrol picks up client then they have an advocate who takes over and takes care of the client. The organization is a one stop shop, with counselors, sexual assault officer and other workers all in one organization. Patrols are well positioned to look at the needs of the people and fill in the gaps in service provision. · Sixthly, having safe places to take people found inebriates is important. Patrols should have access to a sobering up shelter. Currently the sobering up shelter in Geraldton, though next door, is run separately by Compari (DAO). Ideally the patrol and the shelter should be run together. Currently, the Sobering up shelter open from 4pm to 8am, 4 days/week.

10. Nyoongar Patrol Outreach Service

Nyoongar Patrol Outreach Service operates as a community based service dealing with a range of social and welfare issues within the Central Business District and surrounding parks of the Town of Vincent, Northbridge, Fremantle and Midland. The Northbridge Patrol has been the subject of controversy ­ the City of Perth withdrew funding in 2005 amid claims that the patrol was ineffective in removing Aboriginal people from Northbridge.

A State Government inquiry into the future of Northbridge (Busch 2002, 17) was supportive of the Nyoongar Patrols' role of `providing culturally based early intervention and mediation on the streets of Northbridge'. So too was a visiting inquiry from Victoria, which praised Nyoongar's diversionary role (Parliament of Victoria Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee 2001). There has been some uncertainty and differences of opinion about the role of the patrol. Aboriginal people involved in the Patrol argued that they have had to resist attempts by some sections of the media and the non-Aboriginal community to define the purpose of the Patrol in terms of solving a perceived Aboriginal `problem' by removing them from the street. Nyoongar has consistently refused to fulfil this role. Claims that the Patrol had `failed' were miss-directed, due to the fact that's the Patrol itself did not measure success or failure in those terms. Some senior members of the Aboriginal community were convinced that Business people want Nyoongar to be publicly funded security


officers' and execute a night time curfew for Aboriginal youth in Northbridge, while Nyoongar themselves see their role as providing a `support service'.

Nyoongar has evolved a new method of service delivery which has seen it re-badge the service as an outreach rather than patrol service ­ the latter having too much of a `policing' or `security' as opposed to `welfare' connotation. It has also changed the style of uniform from yellow shirts to a more conservative blue. This is an attempt to change some of the perceptions of Nyoongar as being `scruffy' and un-professional. Nyoongar has recruited 7 full-time staff, paid professionals rather then CDEP workers. The new model will run across all 3 Patrols, Northbridge, Fremantle and Swan (Midland). Training Training remains an important element in the management of the patrol. Nyoongar uses the course developed by Doug Thompson called "First Point of Contact" ­ run at Challenge TAFE Fremantle. The training is broad; involving welfare issues (young people, family violence), law and policing, how to deal with violence and alcohol related issues

The course is described later in this report as a model of Good Practice in the training area, one, moreover, with potential relevance beyond Community Patrols ­ it could be used as a means of creating Indigenous narratives around crime prevention that could be shared across the state. Stake-holder conflict Because of Nyoongar's role in the Northbridge, CBD and adjacent areas, a diversity of entities and groups have an interest or stake in its activities. While Nyoongar has good working relationships with key agencies there are inevitable tensions as the service is pulled in different directions and subject to competing expectations and demands in terms of its core aims and objectives: the needs and expectations of the `service' from a local government perspective are different from those of government agencies and the Indigenous community. The expectations of the former (local government) have been unrealistic in terms of Nyoongar's capacity to resolve all problems associated with Aboriginal people's usage of parks and public space. 43

Members of the Aboriginal community believed that operations like Nyoongar need a `champion' in government to argue and support their case, particularly where this involved retaining the cultural integrity of the service and preventing it from becoming a de facto security service.

Nyoongar believed that the right governance structures are essential in maintaining the integrity of the service. This model of governance, it needs to be stressed, is suitable for urban patrols ­ it might fit the cultural needs a rural or remote patrol. Ideally, members of a committee running an urban patrol should be elected every 3 years, and the committee should not become the property of one family group. It is important to have the right mix of skills, for example there should be a balance between members providing the cultural authority for the patrol to operate and those who have skills to manage and liaise with groups like the media, government departments ­ without involving their own personal issues.

Nyoongar's current structure is outlined below.

Nyoongar's management structure:

Advisory Board (Key Stakeholders) - meet monthly

Executive Committee (Management) - meet monthly

Local Government

Nyoongar Patrol

Business Community


11. Data collection

The Department of Indigenous Affairs has been assisting patrols in standardizing the way patrol data is collected, stored and disseminated; DIA's service agreements with patrols ensure that patrols now gather relevant data. The kinds of data collected by patrols depends to a large extent on the kinds of service they offer (e.g. transport home, transfer to another agency such as a shelter), whether criteria such as time and place are important (for example in the area of anti-social behavior when success hinges on moving young people from `hot spots' at particular `hot times'). In these instances information on time and place a client is picked up and where and when they are dropped off becomes crucial. This kind of information is kept by most patrols in some form. Nyoongar patrollers record all `contacts' they make in their summary of the nights activity completed by patrollers They age and gender as well as social issues such as alcohol, solvents, drugs and intoxication.

Nyoongar also keeps data on the movements and number of Aboriginal people using parks as part of its arrangement with the Town of Vincent, as well as data on people visiting from remote communities and their accommodation status as part of its itinerant's program. All patrols wanted to have more support in simplifying its data gathering and dissemination processes. DIA require quarterly reporting of: · · · · · · ·

Cultural background of clients picked up Residential address of clients Sex of clients Age of clients Number of clients picked up each day Number of contacts with organizations and agencies Number of days training and nature of training delivered for staff.

But there were also calls for ways of monitoring practice that were more directly useful for patrols themselves to reflect on their practice. There was also a strong feeling that the kinds of `box ticking' data collection required by funding bodies did not adequately capture the texture and nuances of patrol work. Two models of Best


Practice in the context are presented briefly below to demonstrate what can be achieved with a little imagination and sound partnership with Aboriginal workers on patrols.

Patrols need a program that is simple to use, easy to enter data and easy to produce simple tables/reports as required. There is a need for forms of data collection that can, a) assist patrols to meet reporting requirements for funding bodies, b) allow patrols to reflect on the quality of their practice and what the patrol is achieving and c) allow patrols to present their work to a wider audience.

One of the problems raised by patrollers across the state is that the kinds of `outcome' driven reporting systems miss important work in the community which is not amenable to that kind of quantification. Crime prevention is about stopping things from occurring and the presence of a patrol might prevent problems from erupting in the first place. It is also difficult to quantify levels of `reassurance' provided by the presence of a policing instrumentality. This is captured by Jennifer Walker in her discussion of the work of Remote Area Night Patrol (see Appendix 2), where she writes that data systems do not,

....capture some of the more subtle activities that occur wholly within the indigenous domain. Some examples of these activities are mediation of certain types of family or domestic dispute, where the patrollers themselves are not the mediators, but find and coordinate the appropriate members of families involved in disputes to meet and talk. Patroller activities in certain communities can also be as subtle as women sitting down watching the girl's basketball games in the evening, to ensure there is no enactment of jealous fights.

12. Thinking Outside the Box: New ways of Thinking About Training and Monitoring Practice Through Narratives, Yarns and Storytelling

Aboriginal Patrol Training Kit There is a need for expanding the way we keep information on patrols. The first Best Practice Model is a web based Abroginal Patrol training rescource kit developed by


Doug Thompson which includes video, sound and hyperlinks as a training and resource tool for Aboriginal Patrollers. A description kindly provided by Doug Thompson is appended (Appendix 1). The strengths of kit is that it is derived from, and embedded in, the language and culture of Aboriginal people while offering pathways for enhanced literacy and numeracy skills. It uses real, first hand, life examples and can be referred to when patrollers need to find good practice examples of how to interven in issues such as family violence, fighting and heavy intoxication. The package has been funded by a grant from DEST and fits into the National framework of training, Cert II "First Point of Contact", although it can also be used in Cert III, and IV. The usual length of these modules is six months. Patrol Story This system was developed by Remote Area Night Patrol (RANP) on the remote community of Yuendumu in the early 1990s but has since been in use across remote communities in the Northern Territory 9 . It evolved to reduce the barriers between funding bodies and community patrols created by language and differences in culture. A simple reporting system based on graphics is used by remote Night Patrols to track and record their activities and responses. The system does not require literacy. As Jennifer Walker reports (see Appendix two for a fuller description)

Data about NP activities and responses is recorded by circling or highlighting drawings depicting a range of issues and NP responses. Most of the remote patrollers do not have good literacy and numeracy in English, and do not generally have access to the administrative support required to produce reports and grant acquittals that are acceptable to funding bodies and government agencies.

The system provides a rich source of information and is now being employed to track the careers of Aboriginal women in the family violence response system. Moreover, it illuminates the diversity of issues patrols become involved in `cooling out'.

9 The package can be viewed at


The model is being used in the Harmony Mäwaya Mala project in East Arnhem to monitor the practice of Patrols in the region, as Cook and Wunungumurra (2006) write,

`Patrol Story' can be used to debrief patrollers on a expanded range of encounters and provide a comprehensive reporting system back to mainstream service and funding organisations through it's data base. An adapted data base is being considered for use with the proposed Raypirri Rom program that communities can use for internal purposes as well as reporting to mainstream service providers (Cook and Wunungumurra, 2006)

Patrolstory should be evaluated as a potential tool for use in Western Australia as alternative to text based mechanisms for recoding practice. It could also be adapted for use in other areas, such as family violence intervention or crime prevention strategies targeted at young people run by Aboriginal community organizations.

Concluding Comments

This discussion paper has argued that patrols are best viewed as part of an evolving system of Aboriginal owned community justice mechanisms. Figure 1 captures the role patrols can play as diversionary initiatives operating within a suite of local initiatives designed to reduce enmeshment in the system. They may also enhance all of government responses to high rates of victimisation in the Aboriginal community by offering an early warning system and conduit into treatment, as they already do in Geraldton. Patrols see crime prevention as an integral part of their work and they should be brought into local dialogue about crime prevention. To operate effectively, however, they need to remain Aboriginal owned and managed and retain embedded in the Aboriginal domain.


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(Appendix 1) - Overview of a Web Based Abroginal Patrol Training Rescource The project has created web based training resource with video, sound, hyperlinked resources, learning manual and facilitators guide as a learning resource for Aboriginal Patrollers. The resource is customised to Patrollers literacy and language needs and centred in Patroller work environments and routines. The resource supports delivery of a customised Certificate II Community Services (Aboriginal Patrols) and reflects both urban and remote community contexts. It is designed to support class use or indendent learning approaches Language literacy and numeracy skills are enhanced in in the resource in four ways. 1. It is grounded in and derived from the language used by Aboriginal Patrollers incorporating significant video footage of Patrollers talking about processes. The focus is on aural and oral skills and reading skills through the use of simplified language related to known activities. 2. It creates a standard format for presentation of material and documentation which allows for simple navigation.The resource also provides simplified reporting documentation which will assist in report writing. 3. The resource reinterpets and simplifies complex jargonised language used in the underpinning knowledge and element descriptions in the Community Services Training Package. This is designed to assist Patrollers in understanding how mciro level functions carried out in Patrol duties fit within a broader Community Services approach. 4. The resource can be used in formal training or for independent informal learning. Informal learning assists in the recapitulation of material necessary to learn tasks and skills and improve languange and literacy competence. The resources focusses on using real life examples from familiar contexts with people actually invovled in Patrol work. . Doug Thompson


The project has created web based training resource with video, sound, hyperlinked resources, learning manual and facilitators guide as a learning resource for Aboriginal Patrollers.

The resource is customised to Patrollers literacy and language needs and centred in Patroller work environments and routines. The resource supports delivery of a customised Certificate II Community Services (Aboriginal Patrols) and reflects both urban and remote community contexts. It is designed to support class use or indendent learning approaches

Language literacy and numeracy skills are enhanced in in the resource in four ways.

5. It is grounded in and derived from the language used by Aboriginal Patrollers incorporating significant video footage of Patrollers talking about processes. The focus is on aural and oral skills and reading skills through the use of simplified language related to known activities.

6. It creates a standard format for presentation of material and documentation which allows for simple navigation.The resource also provides simplified reporting documentation which will assist in report writing.

7. The resource reinterpets and simplifies complex jargonised language used in the underpinning knowledge and element descriptions in the Community Services Training Package. This is designed to assist Patrollers in understanding how mciro level functions carried out in Patrol duties fit within a broader Community Services approach.

8. The resource can be used in formal training or for independent informal learning. Informal learning assists in the recapitulation of material necessary to learn tasks and skills and improve languange and literacy competence. The resources focusses on using real life examples from familiar contexts with people actually invovled in Patrol work. .


(Appendix 2) - Patrol Story (Central Australia) Courtesy of Jennifer Walker, Remote Area Night Patrol, Alice Springs In order to address some of the cultural, administrative and language barriers between the non-indigenous domain of funding and other support agencies, and Aboriginal remote community Night/Community patrols, RANP developed a reporting system based on graphics that could be used by remote Night Patrols to track and record their activities and responses. The pictorial reporting system does not require literacy. Data about NP activities and responses is recorded by circling or highlighting drawings depicting a range of issues and NP responses. Most of the remote patrollers do not have good literacy and numeracy in English, and do not generally have access to the administrative support required to produce reports and grant acquittals that are acceptable to funding bodies and government agencies.

A computer based version of the pictorial reporting system was developed from the initial paper reports. The pictorial computer interface is called "Patrol Story". A sample "Patrol Story" is able to be accessed and viewed at

Patrol Story: Was designed and developed in conjunction with the remote community patrols who would be using it. E.g. the footprint icons used to indicate age group were developed by the Women's NP at Yuendumu, and are based on indigenous tracking skills. The women can identify individuals by their footprints. Is designed to be easy to use, robust, and visually appealing. Photos of the local country, people and NP staff are able to be loaded into Patrol Story, and a local aerial photograph or map is digitized to show locations. The local pictorial content is important for local "ownership" of the reporting system, as well as of the patrol The data is sent via email or weblink to a secure server kept at Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs. This protects the data from the often extreme temperatures, dust, and high usage of computers in remote communities. Rather than lose data every time a computer crashes, sending it down a


weblink means that the data is safe, and a malfunctioning computer can simply be swapped out for a functional one at a reasonably minimal cost.

Patrol Story was designed to work with the NDRI Patrol and Wardens database as the "back end" number cruncher. However, Patrol Story would also be usable with a simpler spreadsheet based back end.

As a result of the reporting project and the development of "Patrol Story", data is now being recorded by the Night Patrols themselves about their activities and strategies. This information has not previously been available, as it was at best anecdotal, and mostly inaccessible to the non-indigenous domain.

The pictorial reporting system, while returning data about some of the more measurable and visible activities of remote patrols, still does not capture some of the more subtle activities that occur wholly within the indigenous domain. Some examples of these activities are mediation of certain types of family or domestic dispute, where the patrollers themselves are not the mediators, but find and coordinate the appropriate members of families involved in disputes to meet and talk. Patroller activities in certain communities can also be as subtle as women sitting down watching the girl's basketball games in the evening, to ensure there is no enactment of jealous fights.

This project has returned some very interesting data, indicating clearly that remote area Night and community patrols excel at crime prevention and dispute mediation, and that alcohol continues to be identified by the patrols as being the number one substance of concern, exacerbating and escalating tensions and conflicts within and between families.


Figure 1

Community Justice

Police Event Wardens

Aboriginal court/circle court


Community patrol

Community Justice Group Aboriginal law Healing centres Safe houses Community programs Diversion for youth Family healing Crime prevention




Community Patrols Progress Report OCP

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