May 16, 2024, 12pm

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Victoria Police commit to change


Victoria Police announces its commitment to 79 reforms in response to Yoorrook Justice Commission recommendations at the unveiling of the Yoorrook shield

“This shield symbolises our expectation of the transformation that you will lead – to transform policing in Victoria from a system that First Peoples have historically feared, to one that serves First Peoples and the entire community.”

Yoorrook Deputy Chair Travis Lovett

On 8 May 2024 Yoorrook Commissioners joined the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patten, the Minister for Police Anthony Carbines MP and guests including artist Uncle Mick Harding, Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy and the Djirri Djirri dancers to unveil the Yoorrook Shield at the Victoria Police Centre.

Yoorrook Commissioners presented the Chief Commissioner with the shield at his appearance before the commission one year ago to act as a reminder of his landmark apology to First Peoples and in expectation of the transformative change that must follow. 

In October 2023, Yoorrook made a series of recommendations to address injustice in the criminal justice system, many related to policing, as part of Yoorrook for Justice: Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems.

Following the shield unveiling, Victoria Police responded by committing to complete 79 reforms by the end of 2025.

As part of these reforms, the police will apologise for its involvement with the Stolen Generations, improve oversight and monitoring of complaints made by First Peoples, support any independent oversight body that is investigating complaints made by First Peoples, and expand cultural awareness and human rights training across the organisation. Victoria Police said that six of the 79 reforms had already been completed. 

“I made an undertaking on that day to respect Aboriginal people to defend them as best as I can to change the way we engage with the Aboriginal community…While I know the that the overwhelming proportion of our workforce is not racist, the persistent and consistent poor outcomes for Aboriginal people is undeniable.”

Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patten APM

At the unveiling of the shield, Yoorrook Chair Professor Eleanor Bourke AM reminded Chief Commissioner Patten that: 

“First Peoples have long suffered from broken promises and unfulfilled commitments following momentous apologies and acknowledgements,” the Wergaia/Wamba Wamba Elder said. 

“As I said a year ago, your apology must bring real change, chief commissioner. And it must be lasting.” 

Yoorrook Chair Professor Eleanor Bourke AM

Read further coverage of the event on ABC News.

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