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Creating a safer community with the Nyoongar Patrol

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Nyoongar Patrol senior supervisor Tanya Roe, Perth, WA.
Nyoongar Patrol senior supervisor Tanya Roe, Perth, WA.
6 Sep 2012

It’s safer on the streets with Perth’s Nyoongar Patrol.

Every Friday and Saturday night, six Nyoongar Patrol vans can be seen on the busy streets of Perth.

And with Western Australia’s high rates of Aboriginal imprisonment, the patrol is making a difference.

“We deal with all Indigenous people, whether they’re intoxicated, sniffing, on drugs, or affected by everything,” said senior patrol supervisor Tanya Roe.

The patrol gets involved at street-level with people at risk of being arrested, family violence, hurting themselves or homelessness, or who have substance abuse or mental health problems.

In Tanya’s experience, it’s often people affected by alcohol who find themselves in trouble with the law.

“For us to step in before the police keeps people out of the justice system,” she said. “They listen to us more than the police and we tell them, ‘look, the police are only doing their job too. We’re just trying to keep you safe and off the streets’.”

Tanya says she joined the patrol “to do something for my mob” and over her six years on the job she has helped many people.

“One night this young boy collapsed and was crying out for help. He said he had taken too many pills. We rang an ambulance and got him to hospital.

“I was at the Royal Perth after I knocked off work and he came out and thanked me for saving his life. I said, ‘Well you’ve got to think about it. You’ve got a wife and a baby so think about your little one and your wife’. I haven’t seen him on the streets since," Tanya said.

Find out more

The Australian Government is supporting safety programs like the Nyoongar Patrol around Australia through the Indigenous Employment Program.

More stories on this week's Indigenous.gov.au feature on the Noongar community: Western view: Perth's Noongar community, Young Noongar futures, Family inspires good health, Keeping Noongar culture alive .

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