Senates Probe Absence of WA Police at First Nations Homicides Hearing

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Deliberations were held by the Senates where they scrutinized the absence and homicides of individuals belonging to the First Nations, and their lack of understanding was evident when Western Australia Police displayed a no-show at a public hearing held in Perth.

The deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senator Paul Scarr initiated the process on Wednesday morning, pertaining to the numerous attempts made to bring forth a representative from WA Police to the hearing in person.

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“We are profoundly disappointed by WA Police Force’s rejection to comply with recurrent requests for a meeting,” stated the senator. In August, the Committee communicated a request to WA Police for the presence of a representative which sadly was declined. Despite indicating that their NSW Police counterparts have already testified in September, the request went unheeded.

WA Police justified their absence stating that separate state-based agencies were responsible to ensure checks and balances in their operational efficiency. However, Senator Carr stated, “the performance of these agencies, and their correlation with WA Police, had previously been questioned in the evidence provided to this Committee. Their failure to attend has deprived us of the opportunity to engage in further discussions”.

In another attempt, a letter was penned to WA Police Minister Paul Papalia in September, urging him to have the police force mark their attendance at the hearing, which was once again dismissed.

Senators Paul and Dorinda Cox expressed their dissatisfaction about WA Police’s decision. According to Senator Cox, “WA Police are still a public service and aren’t exempted from scrutiny. Their failure to appear is a complete disregard to families who seek answers.” She also expressed that the policing agency is evading its responsibilities.

Echoing similar sentiments, the senators urged the organization to rethink their choice.

The spotlight was on Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) chief executive Emma Johnson as she took center stage at the Perth hearing. She was cross-examined regarding the reviews and the probe done into complaints filed against the police. Johnson shared that the watch-dog receives approximately 7000 allegations annually, but a meager 58 were investigated during the last fiscal year.

Ms. Johnson cited limited resources and infrastructure as the reasons for these low numbers. It was estimated that nearly eight percent of the complaints filed against the police were by the First Nations people.

Later on Wednesday, representatives from WA’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Commissioner for Children and Young People, and Women‘s Legal Service WA are also expected to present their case in front of the Committee.