The First Nations 'In-Community' Protective Services Officer Program today received a silver award in the police-led category of the 2023 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPAs).
The ACVPAs recognise best practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives to prevent crime and violence before it occurs.
In 2019, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) commenced an innovative pilot project to recruit, train and engage select Palm Island residents as protective services officers, safeguarding state government infrastructure. The training is focused on personal, interpersonal and professional skills as well as health and wellbeing, and financial literacy.
Since its establishment, 14 residents have been inducted as protective services officers to serve on Palm Island and 2 residents serve the community of Yarrabah. The project will be expanded to additional remote communities across Queensland over the next 2 years and will provide employment opportunities for local members of those remote communities.
“Our project, unique to Australian law enforcement, provides an innovative way to adapt and integrate security into traditional policing structures that is community-facing. This project contributes to the delivery of ‘Closing the Gap’ and other government First Nations reconciliation strategies by providing employment pathways that grow educational skills, knowledge, and aptitude in remote Indigenous communities,” said Director Sean Clark.
“Thanks to interagency partnerships between QPS and remote community groups, the project has been able to successfully intergrate community-based employees, using local knowledge and relationships, which has seen a significant reduction in crime and property damage,” said Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown.
These annual awards recognise the outstanding contributions being made across Australia for crime prevention, including the development and implementation of practical projects to reduce violence and other types of crime in the community.
The awards are a joint initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments and are delivered by the AIC. All projects are assessed each year by the ACVPA Board, which consists of senior law enforcement representatives from each state and territory police service, and is chaired by the AIC Director.
For more information about the award winners, please visit aic.gov.au/acvpa.
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