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Going Beyond the Call of Duty to help their community
When Galiwin’ku faced a concerning rise in volatile substance abuse in their community, the local Night Patrol team went way beyond the call of duty to contain the danger.
Based on Elcho Island off the north coast of Arnhem Land, the team of five worked with police to identify areas within the community where some locals had sourced sniffing substances.
Night patrols play an important role in Aboriginal communities, ensuring that locals are safe and children are at home at night so they can get enough sleep and get up in time for school the next day.
The five-member Night Patrol team and their coordinator understood the danger to the individuals and to the community of an increase in fuel sniffing and decided to help, spending a month working dusk to dawn every night of the week patrolling the problem areas in the communities. At the end of the month the team were exhausted but proud of the fact that there was a significant decrease in reported break ins where the substances had been stored.
The team earned praise from police, local Aboriginal corporation Marthakal and from the East Arnhem Regional Council, which delivers the night patrol service across nine sites in Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt.
“The hours worked by the Night Patrol members were above and beyond the call of duty and Galiwin’ku community owes them much respect for their efforts,” Sergeant Ian Hamblyn of the Northern Territory Police said.
Australian Government officials were also very impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication of the Night Patrol members and are working with local stakeholders to further support the Galiwin’ku Night Patrol and give the Night Patrol team a well-earned break.
While fuel sniffing is still a concern in Galiwin’ku, local youth have less access to dangerous substances thanks to the commitment and work of the local Night Patrol team.