Deep racism found among Vic police

March 21, 2010

Victorian police have been rocked by allegations of racism, physical abuse and harassment of young Africans in inner-urban Melbourne.

A group of inner-city legal teams have released an explosive report: Boys, You Wanna' Give Me Some Action. It included first-hand, corroborated evidence that police are targeting and over-policing young Africans.

"Some of these police are racist", Helen Yandell, from the Springvale Monash Legal Services and report spokesperson, told Green Left Weekly. "They over-use stop-and-search powers, racially taunt young people with phrases such as 'monkey' and 'black cunt', and in some cases [use] violence.

"Almost every single young person we spoke to reported being asked to give police their name and address several times in a single day; for some this was a regular occurrence.

"Just increasing police numbers does not result in safer communities; it's the quality of police, not the quantity that matters."

She called for an independent police commission to deal with police complaints.
Police commissioner Simon Overland said police were denied "natural justice" by not being given a chance to see the report before its release. He said individual cases of racist policing did exist, and would be dealt with.

But Yandell said it was young Africans who were been denied justice. She said the report showed a systemic failure of policing, not just the actions of a few bad cops. It called for conflict management training for all police and improved, transparent complaint-handling procedures.

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