Aborigines and policing: Aboriginal solutions from Northern Territory communities

Tuesday, 30 June 1992
Prof Marcia Langton

In the 1992 Wentworth Lecture, Marcia Langton discusses relations between Aborigines and police, highlighting some of the attempts at solutions which have been initiated by Aboriginal people. The aims and often the outcomes of these Aboriginal-initiated community policing and justice mechanisms have been to achieve law and order within the Aboriginal community and to improve the generally poor relationship between Aboriginal communities and the Australian institutions.

Despite the fears of the 1950s and 1960s, justifiable fears in those times, which motivated the founders of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Aboriginal culture remains a strong force throughout much of Australia, despite high levels of ill health and mortality. There is nothing to gain in the white resistance to Aboriginal culture; too often the police are seen as the frontline of that resistance. Better community relations will come about, as is happening now in parts of the Territory, as police and Aboriginal people work together in meaningful and constructive ways on projects which are largely designed by Aboriginal people.