Cultural accommodation and the policing of Aboriginal communities: A case study of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands

Cultural accommodation and the policing of Aboriginal communities: A case study of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands Journal Article

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology

  • Author(s): Whellum, Peter, Nettelbeck, Amanda, Reilly, Alexander
  • Published: 2019

Abstract: The relationship between Aboriginal communities and police continues to be a pressing issue in contemporary debates about criminal justice reform in Australia. The Australian Law Reform Commission’s recent Pathways to Justice report offers a set of recommendations on how to interrupt the continuing cycle of Aboriginal people’s disproportionate susceptibility to arrest, police custody, and incarceration. Many of its recommendations are grounded in the principle of building more systematic forms of cultural accommodation and community collaboration into the culture of policing. Some of these principles are already adopted by Australian police authorities in programmes such as the employment of Aboriginal police liaison officers, the inclusion of cultural awareness education in the training of law enforcement personnel, and the guarantee of interpreter services. Focusing upon the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and drawing upon the reported experiences of Anangu with police, this article examines the extent to which such reforms have transformed Aboriginal/police relations and worked to incorporate cultural difference into the culture of contemporary policing. While none of the policing issues discussed here are unique to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, the geographical remoteness of the Lands and the diversity of their communities combine to establish a unique set of policing challenges. Having considered existing strategies to meet these challenges, the article concludes that Aboriginal people’s fuller access to justice requires deeper structural reform to the culture of policing than is yet available.

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Suggested Citation
Whellum, Peter, Nettelbeck, Amanda, Reilly, Alexander, 2019, Cultural accommodation and the policing of Aboriginal communities: A case study of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, Journal Article, viewed 17 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15517.

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