NAIDOC car and uniforms help police pay tribute
Pilbara police will pay tribute to the culture and achievements of indigenous Australians this NAIDOC Week by wearing custommade uniforms and driving a car displaying Aboriginal art.
The car and uniforms, which feature art by Newman’s Cyril Whyoulter, arrived in Karratha last week and are part of a firsttime project between WA Police and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
Officers at Pilbara sub-district stations will wear the uniforms throughout NAIDOC Week, which starts on July 2, and beyond, with a plan to use them at various events.
Pilbara District Police Inspector Louise Ball said she was proud to be part of a project that promoted a strong, positive relationship between police and members of the indigenous community.
“I think this is an amazing project,” she said. “The aim is to help strengthen the relationship between WA Police and the indigenous community by showing respect and acknowledging the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
The car will be used by South Hedland Police Station’s community relations officers during NAIDOC Week in a sign of solidarity with the indigenous community.
Whyoulter’s design, chosen through a competition, symbolises a melon which members of his family, who live nomadically in the Western Desert, used to share at a camp called Karamilyi.
“My mum’s father came from Kirriwirri in the north. I can paint that way too,” he said.
“I like painting, it’s a good way to learn from old people, to keep the stories going.”
Karratha police officer-incharge Senior Sergeant Andy Stevens said some of his best experiences as a police officer had been working with members of indigenous communities.
He said the NAIDOC Week project was a sincere gesture of the respect police officers had for indigenous residents.
NAIDOC Week runs from July 2-9 and all Pilbara sub-district stations will hold their own events to celebrate as well as attending community events. The NAIDOC police project is expected to become an annual tradition.
Karratha police’s Sergeant John Hart and Senior Constable Gerry Pilkington, Pilbara District Police Inspector Louise Ball and Karratha police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Andy Stevens with the NAIDOC car.