Memorandum of Understanding to make communities safer

Memorandum of Understanding to make communities safer

Indigenous Affairs
Thursday, 22 November 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and women stand in front of a white vehicle on dry, yellow soil. In the background are buildings and trees and a yellow and black sign.

Community Night Patrols (CNPs) operate in 81 communities in the Northern Territory. They aim to improve community safety by patrolling the streets at night, offering culturally sensitive assistance and providing transportation to a safe place.

In the case of significant law and order issues, CNPs work with Northern Territory Police, helping them understand the local community and mediating or translating when needed.

In 2017, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Hon. Nigel Scullion, and the Northern Territory Commissioner for Police, Reece Kershaw, agreed to build stronger links between the NT Police and CNPs through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

That MOU was signed this week. It outlines the high-level principles and working arrangements for the relationship between the Police and CNP. It:

  • Demonstrates commitment to improve community safety outcomes through collaboration and integration in the planning and provision of CNPs and policing.
  • Acknowledges the benefits of CNP and Police working in partnership with communities.
  • Demonstrates the commitment of both governments to support career progression for Patrollers.

"This agreement gives effect to the commitment from both governments to improve community safety outcomes In the Northern Territory for locals and patrollers alike," Minister Scullion said.

"Community Night Patrol providers already play a crucial role in helping to prevent crime and enhancing community resilience, but we want to make their job easier. With the help of Northern Territory Police, night patrollers will be better supported and, therefore, more effective."

The MOU provides a framework for the relationship between CNPs and NT Police built on:

  1. Clear roles and responsibilities.
  2. Organisational and individual capacity.
  3. Strong partnerships.
  4. Meaningful engagement across the community and community safety services.

The MOU seeks to empower the local community to participate in preventative measures and identification of issues and solutions, and build the capacity of the NT Police, CNP Providers and individuals to operate effectively and with cultural sensitivity.

The MOU recognises there is no one approach that will work for all communities and that community‑level approaches and responses should be tailored to local needs.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is working with the NT Police on a framework for career pathways for CNP workers to transition to roles in the NT Police Force.

The Department continues to work with providers and communities to support, develop and implement local reforms, with a focus on increased flexibility, training options and local solutions tailored to local community needs and safety priorities.

For more information, read Minister Scullion’s Community safety the priority as Community Night Patrol and NT Police join forces media release.