Commissioner of Police John McRoberts visits Maningrida

24 February 2014
After a recent invitation from Maningrida Traditional Owners and Elders, the Commissioner, along with Superintendents Michael White and Craig Barrett flew to Maningrida on 10th-11th February.
Commissioner of Police in Maningrida
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Constable First Class Paul Keightley, CEPO, Arnhem Region

 Upon landing and meeting with OIC Maningrida Sgt Kim Chambers, the Commissioner and others attended the Progress Association conference room where a Community Safety Committee (CSC) meeting was held at the conclusion of the Local Reference Group (LRG) meeting. 

During the Maningrida CSC meeting, chaired by Sgt Chambers, various Community Safety Action Plan (CSAP) items were discussed and reviewed.  Card gambling was viewed by the CSC members and local community as being a priority issue that is affecting Maningrida on various levels from school attendance, education, health and a host of other problem areas.  CSC members include traditional owners and elders who are keen to work with police and all community stakeholders to ensure the community continually moves forward in a positive direction.  Ensuring cultural awareness training for incoming police and “Balandas” (caucasian persons) was also raised by elders as important, and the OIC Maningrida Police is keen for local elders/ Burnawarra to develop a cultural awareness package for delivery to local and relieving members.

Maningrida Night Patrol Coordinator Mark Weston reinforced that local Police and night patrol have a great working relationship. At the time of the meeting, staffing levels were eight members, with two more about to commence.  This takes the Maningrida Night Patrol to its full capacity of 10 members. Night Patrol  do a fantastic job in Maningrida and are a valuable asset to the community and local police. 

Following the CSC meeting the Commissioner, Superintendent White and members of the Burnawarra (local indigenous traditional owners and Senior Djunggay (Lawmen) who work toward dispute resolution, leadership and governance in the Maningrida community) held a very positive, open and frank discussion regarding traditional laws, governance and ways in which Police and the local community can work together to keep improving community amenity and safety in Maningrida. This discussion was also attended by Charles Darwin University Mr Daniel Kelly (Senior lecturer in Law and Law Course Coordinator) who has worked extensively with Burnawarra members and the Commissioner in relation to cultural law and other issues.  

Later that night the Commissioner and Superintendents White and Barrett attended a traditional cultural meeting area in Maningrida. In this culturally appropriate setting, local issues were discussed around a camp fire with local elders, traditional owners and senior traditional lawman (Djunggay).

The following day the Commissioner and Superintendent White also attended the local school breakfast initiative at the Maningrida Primary School, speaking with elders who assist at the school, as well as students, the Principal Stuart Dwyer and AFLNT remote area development coach, Bernie Price.  Bernie is an integral part of the Maningrida community, training local AFL teams and working with children as a good role model.   The Commissioner and Superintendent White demonstrated some great football kicking skills in the Maningrida school yard, which went down a treat with local children.

This ground roots level community engagement by the Commissioner and others in Maningrida, was extremely well received by the local community. This visit has gone a long way towards Police and the local community working together to reduce crime and keep people safe.   The Commissioner acknowledged the great community support for OIC Sgt Kim Chambers and his team in Maningrida.