Victoria Police, African community join forces for youth crime taskforce

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An African-Australian community taskforce will work with Victoria Police to tackle problems with youth offending.

Victoria's African community will create a taskforce to work with police and tackle youth crime.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton met with leaders from Melbourne's African community on Wednesday after a series of widely reported crimes involving youths of African appearance.

The taskforce will meet for the first time on Friday and will support police by providing information on emerging issues and hot spots, create a more efficient communication channel on how to prevent crimes, and tell officers of incidents of racial vilification.

 

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African-Australian community leaders and Victorian police announce joint taskforce to combat crime
African-Australian community leaders and Victorian police announce joint taskforce to combat crime

"We know that the vast majority of African-Australians in Victoria are decent, law-abiding people," Mr Ashton said in a statement.

"They are suffering as a result of the actions of a small cohort of young offenders. The African-Australian community can, and want to, play a role in providing solutions.

"Whilst we are already working collaboratively at the local level, this community taskforce will further strengthen these efforts."

South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria's Kot Monoah said the community stood strong with Victoria Police in tackling youth crime.

"We understand there are a lot of issues that have been happening. Can we say as the African-Australian community the issues that are happening are not in any way shape or form related to gangs," he said.

"We understand there are significant issues happening with young people compounded by a number of issues such as drugs and alcohol, and significant behavioural issues.

"These sorts of issues, obviously, it is our duty and responsibility as a society to address them without mixing them with politics or without mixing them with any other messaging."

Mr Monoah said the reporting of the issue had subjected a number of people to racial profiling.

Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp also said community members had been at the receiving end of "disturbing" behaviour.

"I know that a number of people here today and others in the community have been... subjected to death threats," he said.

Mr Crisp said a majority of the community were law-abiding, and they were "hurting" and "feeling pain" over this issue.

Mr Ashton returned from sick leave this week into a political controversy over holiday season incidents, with the federal government accusing the state government of failing to act on the issue.

Source AAP - SBS

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