• Police patrol Onslow airport in Western Australia (AAP)Source: AAP
The proportion of Aboriginal people in the West Australian police force should reflect the size of the state's Indigenous community, an employment expert says.
By
AAP

27 Nov 2015 - 4:49 PM  UPDATED 27 Nov 2015 - 4:55 PM

Aboriginal people make up more than three per cent of WA's population, but Indigenous officers comprise 1.6 per cent of the police force, including auxiliary officers and Aboriginal liaison officers.

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JobTrainWA chief executive Selina Maguire said having more Aboriginal officers in the state's police force would result in fewer Indigenous people ending up in the prison system.

Ms Maguire said more needed to be done within the Aboriginal community to encourage people to become police officers, with family and cultural reasons sometimes standing in the way of a career in the force.

"The likelihood, if you're working as a police officer, with having to deal with your own family or arrest them is quite big, very big, the likelihood of knowing someone you're arresting is huge," Ms Maguire told AAP.

She said more education was needed on both sides of the divide in order to close it.

"We need to educate our community that police are not always the enemy and develop better working relationships," she said.   

A WA Police spokeswoman said several strategies had been implemented to increase Aboriginal representation.

"Recent strategies have more than doubled the Aboriginal application rates over the last 10 months and the launch of the Diversity Employment project should enhance this further"

"Recent strategies have more than doubled the Aboriginal application rates over the last 10 months and the launch of the Diversity Employment project should enhance this further," she said.

A parliamentary committee has looked at Indigenous recruitment in the WA Police force as part of an inquiry into how it evaluates its performance.