Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (23:34): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and the action I am seeking is for her to instruct Victoria Police to immediately introduce a racial profile monitoring system.
We know that it has been three years since Victoria Police stated that they would introduce a monitoring system to check the level of racial profiling in police activities, but they have not. The research points to the fact that they are stopping people because of the colour of their skin, and we know that there is no doubt that that is linked to the increased levels of incarceration of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and Aboriginal children in our community as well as other people of colour.
Police now record a variety of data when they stop someone, when they interact, and that will include the reason for the stop, the location, the time and the outcome. Racial monitoring would make it mandatory to include the perceived race or ethnicity. It would not be a requirement for the police to ask those people about that, just for them to identify what the ethnicity was that they think. We know that research from Canada and the UK has shown that these types of racial monitoring systems immediately reduce the number of unnecessary stops as they make officers reflect on whether the person’s race played a part in their decision to stop them. With this data VicPol can work towards reducing racial profiling in police and improve transparency.
This is a call that has been going for a number of years. As I say, the police said they would do it three years ago. Acting Chief Commissioner Andrew Crisp in 2017 told the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre that Victoria Police would incorporate racial profiling as part of their transparency and accountability monitoring group, but they have not. We know in New South Wales where this type of profiling is monitored that the COVID-19 fines disproportionately affected our Aboriginal communities, but here we just do not know because we are not measuring it.
Look, the government could be doing so many things this week to reflect on the actions that our community took—the outbursts, the outrage, the outpouring of sympathy—around the deaths in custody and around the deaths of black people that we saw in America. They could be removing public drunkenness as an offence, they could be conducting an audit into the recommendations, but the action I seek is a simple one: that they immediately start collecting data on the race and ethnicity of the people they stop.