Changing face of VIC Police; embracing new recruits from Sudan, Congo

Changing face of VIC Police; embracing new recruits from Sudan, Congo

ABC News article | 10th May 2018

Constable Kur Thiek was a bit nervous as he prepared for his first day on patrol as a Victoria Police officer. “Today is my first shift after graduation,” he said at the Narre Warren Police Station south-east of Melbourne. “So I’m excited and also a bit nervous as well to be honest.”

Constable Thiek represents the changing face of Victoria Police. The 31-year-old arrived as a refugee from Sudan 12 years ago.

Over the past six years the number of African-born police officers has more than doubled from 34 to 70, but a large percentage of those are from South Africa. 

Constable Thiek is one of just 26 African police officers from non-English speaking backgrounds in Victoria Police — Constable Iglay Dangassat is another. He is from Congo and has been on the beat in Melbourne’s north for three months. “It’s very beneficial for the organisation for people to have different backgrounds,” he said. “Especially from African/Australian backgrounds.”

At a time when politicians are lamenting “African crime gangs” in Victoria, just 0.18 per cent of 14,250 police officers in the state come from the communities generating many of the headlines.

In other words, fewer than two in every 1,000 police officers come from non-English speaking African communities.

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