Inquiry Hears QPS Working Towards Better Relationships With First Nations People

"There are unconscious biases"

Article heading image for Inquiry Hears QPS Working Towards Better Relationships With First Nations People

A hearing has been told Queensland Police are working to build trust and credibility with Indigenous people to overcome social bias.

Queensland Police Service (QPS) First Nationals and Multicultural Affairs unit superintendent Kerry Johnson appeared at the first of a two-day sitting in Cairns of the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Police Service responses to domestic and family violence.

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“We are a colonial-based organisation, it was not that long ago in our 160-year history we were part of the White Australia Policy - there’s a ‘canteen culture’,” he said.

“There are unconscious biases that need to be addressed.”

Six CPS witnesses were presented with several exhibits, including the Coroner’s findings following an inquest into the death of Doreen Langham, 49, by Gary Hely – who also later died.

Langham’s cause of death was a combination of a spleen injury sustained in a confrontation with Hely and the effects from the fire he caused when he covered Langham in petrol and set the Brisbane unit on fire.

Hely died in an act Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley said was likely to have been intentional.

The inquest also revealed the QPS had been unable to implement recommendations from the “Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland” report in 2015.

“This inquest has revealed the need for urgent reforms to address the inadequate response of the QPS to victims of domestic violence,” Bentley said in her findings.

Bently added crucial information was not passed on, toned-down, misunderstood, went missing, or was not followed up.

Short, simple and everything you need to know.

19 July 2022

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