Wednesday, May 29, 2024

New system aims to reduce deaths in custody

The State Government will move to implement a Custody Notification Service (CNS) in South Australia, in a step towards reducing Aboriginal deaths in custody, the Attorney-General has announced.

The Custody Notification System would legally require SAPOL to notify South Australia’s Aboriginal Legal Service, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, when an Aboriginal person enters custody.

“While we have had similar arrangements in place between SAPOL and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement for quite some time, there have never been any formalised legislative measures,” Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said.

“Establishing a CNS in South Australia will help to ensure Aboriginal people receive culturally appropriate wellbeing support and basic legal advice as soon as possible after being taken into custody.

“This will also bring us in line with other jurisdictions around the country who have legislated for these measures.”

The new regulations will require SAPOL to notify the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement by telephone as soon as an Aboriginal person has been delivered into police custody.

“A representative from the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement must also be allowed to speak to and/or visit the Aboriginal person, and discuss any concerns regarding their welfare, including whether they need an interpreter or support person.

“One of the most significant measures we’re also proposing is if a responsible officer refuses or fails to comply with these requirements, they may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

“Mandating the use of the CNS will ensure the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement is notified as soon as reasonably practicable and can act appropriately to provide wellbeing support and basic legal advice where needed.”

“We will continue to work closely with the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement to determine the proposed scope and model of the service,” Ms Chapman said.

“Eliminating Aboriginal deaths in custody is paramount, and these measures are a further step towards that.”

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