12.1 Police responses can have an impact on the rate of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Police are at the ‘front line’ in the criminal justice system. They receive direct complaints of criminal behaviour, investigate those complaints and then may lay charges. Police have significant powers, including in many instances, a discretion to charge or not charge an individual with an offence.
12.2 This chapter asks how police responses and practices in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples might be improved, including questions about how police might work better with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to prevent family violence; how to improve police readiness for working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; the value of reporting and evaluating police programs and initiatives involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and the value of Reconciliation Action Plans and employment strategies for state and territory police services.