Victorian police have apologised for racist treatment of Aboriginal families over generations.
The state’s top cop Commissioner Shane Patton told a truth-telling inquiry that Victoria Police had caused and contributing to trauma experienced Aboriginal families.
“I know Victoria Police has caused harm in the past and unfortunately, continues to do so in the present,” he told the Yoorrook Justice Commission.
“As an organisation, we continue to make necessary changes and improvement and it is a firm requirement of mine that we will continually strive to do better.”
Patton, speaking to inquiry commissioners who have repeatedly condemned what they say is Aboriginal people’s over-representation in prison, said police racism was not intentional.
“As a result of systemic racism, racist attitudes and discriminatory actions of police have gone undetected, unchecked, unpunished or without appropriate sanctions and have caused significant harm across generations of Aboriginal families,” he said.
When Patton finished his evidence, the inquiry observed a minute’s silence.
“Your apology must bring real change,” Yoorrook chair Eleanor Bourke said.