Commissioner Chris Dawson today issued an apology on behalf of the Western Australia Police Force to Indigenous people. The apology came as the WA Police Force marked NAIDOC Week with a flag raising ceremony at Police Headquarters.
“I would like to say sorry to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for our participation in past wrongful actions that have caused immeasurable pain and suffering,” the Commissioner said.
“As the legislated protectors of Aboriginal people, police played a significant role in contributing to a traumatic history, which continues to reverberate today. I accept that previous laws, practices and policies deeply affected the lives of Aboriginal people, and that police involvement in historical events has led to mistrust in law enforcement and the damaging of our relationship.”
Commissioner Dawson acknowledged we cannot change the past, but can learn from it, pledging to make amends and ensure mistakes are not repeated. “From this day forward, and in my time as Commissioner, I will take steps to heal historical wounds between police and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” he said. “I would like to commence a new journey in unison with Aboriginal people towards achieving reconciliation. I am committed to working with Aboriginal people to improve our relationships and foster meaningful and positive change for future generations.”
In the spirit of reconciliation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were today raised as a permanent feature at Police Headquarters to symbolise and recognise the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play in Western Australian communities.
The Commissioner’s full speech is available at www.police.wa.gov.au