QPS paddy wagon at NAIDOC Family Day causes controversy

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Image by Kgbo on Wikimedia Commons. License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Queensland Police have been accused of racism over a NAIDOC event.

The NAIDOC Family Day featured a stall staffed by police liaison officers and a police wagon.

Children were invited to climb into the van and experience what it’s like to be taken into custody, causing concern for some community members.

Response from a QPS spokesperson:

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) acknowledges that NAIDOC Week activities and events celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and provide an opportunity to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on Earth.

QPS officers from the South Brisbane District were invited by organisers to attend a Family Day initiative held at C.J. Greenfield Complex, Richlands. This is an annual NAIDOC celebration event proudly supported by the QPS.

The event was supported through the South Brisbane District Cross Cultural Unit through the attendance of nine Police Liaison Officers (PLOs) and members of the Inala Police Station.

This deployment was supported through the display of an operational marked police vehicle, which is involved in usual engagement activities at events that include the ‘hands-on’ use of QPS property including police apparel, approved for use for community engagement and to provide a policing experience. This is intended to break down barriers, create conversations and build relationships with community.

During the event, a Senior Police Liaison Officer was approached by a member of the community who expressed their concerns about the use of the police vehicle as part of the community engagement activity.

Following these conversations with the community member, and out of respect for their concerns, the Senior Police Liaison Officer immediately closed the police vehicle and removed it from the event site.

Further discussions around this event have since been had with relevant local community stakeholders. The QPS takes community feedback seriously and will ensure it is incorporated in planning for next year’s event.

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