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Cops embrace fresh NAIDOC Week look

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph
Officers from Rockingham policing teams 2 and 4 with officer-in-charge senior sergeant Brett Reyne (centre) wearing specially-made uniforms to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
Camera IconOfficers from Rockingham policing teams 2 and 4 with officer-in-charge senior sergeant Brett Reyne (centre) wearing specially-made uniforms to celebrate NAIDOC Week. Credit: Gareth McKnight

Rockingham’s police officers will wear Aboriginal-inspired uniforms this week to support indigenous culture as part of NAIDOC Week.

An annual event, this year’s celebrations run from July 2-9 and promote the histories, cultures and achievements of Australia’s indigenous people.

However, 2017 is the first year WA Police has been involved in wearing the specially-made uniforms.

Rockingham Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Brett Reyne said local officers were happy to support NAIDOC Week.

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Patrol cars with an Aboriginal design are also expected in the south west.

WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said the uniforms were an important statement by law enforcement officers.

“This significant uniform change is a way for WA Police to further strengthen relationships with the Aboriginal community,” he said.

“I expect this project will also enhance our officers’ understanding of the Aboriginal community and culture.”

Seven emerging Aboriginal artists played a role in designing the uniforms, with unique artworks created to represent specific regions.

Noongar man Bradley Kickett was one of the artists involved, with his Meeandip Derbarlmarra painting inspiring the final design.

His artwork is an aerial view of Rockingham’s Point Peron and Garden Island.

“To have your artwork displayed like that and being seen everywhere is brilliant,” he said.

“I wanted to do some ocean art ... I used to go there to de-stress.

“Having a stressful job, (to) go down to the ocean, the water is really relaxing.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said the project was a fantastic way to promote the rich Aboriginal cultural diversity across WA.

“The project was conceptualised by an Aboriginal elder, and WA Police and the emerging artists have made it happen,” he said.

“I applaud the WA Police for their commitment to engaging respectfully with Aboriginal people.”

About 2100 officers across WA will wear the uniforms this week.

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