Policing in a Multicultural Society: A Changing society, a changing police Culture?
Henry Stewart Publications
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Justice and Business Law
For many years Australia has been known for its all-white policy, but in recent years the government has undertaken a series of radical measures to improve ‘access' and ‘equity’ of all groups living in Australia — a process which has involved improving the ability of government bodies to understand the intricate relations which arise within a multicultural society so that they can better attend to the different values and needs of the various groups. In this paper, the authors look at an innovative, proactive programme entitled ‘Policing in a multicultural community’ set up by the Western Australian Police Service, the Department of Multicultural Affairs, the Ethnic Communities Council and Edith Cowan University, in coordination with the Northern Suburbs Migrant Resource Centre. The programme is based on the premise that ‘only through understanding people's needs, expectations and fears can compatibility between police and society be achieved’. The findings of this comprehensive evaluation showed that by fostering a sense of partnership it is possible to achieve significant impacts in terms of promoting an understanding of cultural diversity among police officers, and overcoming issues which in the past have prevented ethnic minority groups from accessing police services.