Victoria Police has today welcomed the establishment of an African Australian community task force to work closely with police on youth offending and antisocial behaviour in Melbourne.

The decision follows a meeting between Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and leaders from the African Australian community.

The taskforce will meet for the first time this Friday.

Mr Ashton said the taskforce would directly support the police and community response by:

• Providing information to police on emerging issues and hot spots, allowing police to act swiftly and nip problems in the bud through the deployment of resources.

• Establishing a more efficient channel for police to engage with African Australian leaders and provide advice on how they can best deploy their people and assist with efforts to prevent youth crimes and antisocial behaviour occurring.

• Providing police with information on incidents of racial vilification and other hate crimes aimed at African Australians.

Mr Ashton said:

“We know that the vast majority of African Australians in Victoria are decent, law abiding people. They are suffering as a result of the actions of a small cohort of young offenders. The African Australian Community can, and want to, play a role in providing solutions.

“Victoria Police will, of course, continue to take tough action against young offenders. When they commit appalling crimes they can expect to be swiftly locked up.

“Victoria Police has always enjoyed excellent relations with the African Australian community. For example, we’ve had great success working alongside community groups at major events such as White Night and New Year’s Eve. Volunteers from the community patrolled with police, speaking to young people and identifying issues before they escalated.

“That means working through emerging issues, identifying problems early and jumping on them before they can cause real harm.

“Whilst we are already working collaboratively at the local level, this community task force will further strengthen these efforts.

“Throughout my discussions, the African Australian leaders have shown great resolve to work positively and proactively in the community and with police to bring these young criminals under control.”

Attribution: Victoria Police Online News Centre website 

Media Unit