Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Safer Communities: Territory Labor Government Brings Back School Based Policing

Nearly five years after it was scrapped by the chaotic CLP Government, the Territory Labor Government has returned and reinvigorated school-based policing.

The new school based policing model was designed in collaboration with the Department of Education and Council of Government School Organisations (COGSO), as well as the Northern Territory Police Force (NTPF), and will launch in 10 government schools at the start of Term 4, 2018.

The new model aims to address issues raised during the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory with a greater focus on safety, youth engagement and youth diversion in keeping with best practice models developed in similar jurisdictions.

The School Based Police will operate in collaboration with Youth and Community Engagement Constables model during and after school hours and beyond the school environment to target youth at risk of disengaging.

Through an intelligence-led, evidence-based approach, 10 central locations were selected as hubs for the program. They are:

● Sanderson Middle School                           

● Dripstone Middle School

● Darwin Middle and High Schools (Bullocky Point Precinct)                   

● Nightcliff Middle School                  

● Palmerston College                        

● Taminmin College                           

● Casuarina Senior College 

● Katherine High School                    

● Tennant Creek High School                

● Centralian Middle School

A report on the progress and effectiveness of the new model will be undertaken in Term 1, 2019.

NTPF  will also continue their already high engagement in remote communities – including in schools – and work to strengthen these relationships.

 

Quotes attributable to Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister, Nicole Manison.

“We have listened to Territorians and we have acted. The Territory Labor Government is bringing back school based policing after the initiative was cut by the chaotic CLP government.

“Community safety and our children are key priorities for our government and this model of school-based policing will enable our kids to be engaged and empowered, which we know helps prevent youth crime and reduce victimisation.

“We also want to ensure that a child’s first encounter with a police officer is a positive one.”

 

Quotes attributable to Education Minister, Selena Uibo.

“The Territory Labor Government believes that every child deserves the best start in life.

“This proactive model of policing in schools will better enable us to identify at-risk kids, to re-engage them to grow, learn and achieve, and set them on the right track to a bright future.

“The previous CLP Government not only scrapped this program, they slashed $135 million from the education budget and sacked teachers and support staff. We are reinvesting in education and fixing those mistakes.”

 

Quotes attributable to the Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations (NTCOGSO) President, Tabby Fudge.

“We are delighted and grateful to the government for responding to the request of schools for the reinstatement of the school based policing program.

“The return of a new and improved school and police partnership will strengthen school safety, respectful relationships and student success.

“The announcement today clearly shows government, families, schools and police working together for the benefit of our community.

“This is a great outcome for our children and schools and we sincerely thank the government for listening and responding.”

 

Media contact:           

Ms Manison:  Hannah Farmer 0428 497 154

Ms Uibo:         Kim Stephens 0417 683 144


Q&A

 

How is the new model different from the last?

This model is an improvement on the old program and acknowledges that a “one size fits all” approach does not work.

It ensures there are more resources available to deal with youth who need greater attention and assistance. The new model also allows greater flexibility to target at risk youth who might not be attending school or who might not be attending class on a regular basis.

The model has been co-designed with other agencies to enhance relationships in the community and align with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

 

Will this model be rolled out to other schools?

The new model uses schools as a central hub for police to work with surrounding feeder schools. An interim report of the program will be compiled in Term 1, 2019.

 

Where are these officers coming from and is this reducing front line numbers?

These are not new positions but a redistribution of existing police resources. Management, governance and accountability will be the responsibility of the respective commands.

 

Will officers carry weapons?

In line with current NTPF policy, all SBP members will wear full uniform and all accoutrements, including firearms, during their shift.

Members will maintain a level of flexibility in the manner of which they wear their accoutrements including whether they choose to wear Body Worn Vests (BWV) or not.

This takes into consideration the current threat level, and also provides members with the ability to respond to emergencies.  

 

Why were these schools chosen? Are they the “bad” schools?

These schools has been chosen using an intelligence-led, evidence-based approach.

Information including the number of suspensions, incidents and the number of “at risk” youth identified at the school formed the basis for the inclusion of these schools in the model.

 

How much time will officers actually spend at schools?

The members assigned to SBP will be primarily based at their respective secondary schools.

 

What about schools who miss out? Principals and school staff can contact the Sergeant of Community and Youth Engagement during business hours via email or telephone. Schools are also aware that if an incident requires an immediate response that they should call 000 or 131 444.