• An example of a vehicle with a 'police cage' (Supplied: Amnesty International.)Source: Supplied: Amnesty International.
Amnesty International says it is concerned about reports from the NT that children are being transported in 'police cages', sometimes for journeys of up to five hours.
Keira Jenkins

22 May 2020 - 3:16 PM  UPDATED 22 May 2020 - 3:16 PM

Amnesty International has called for an end to NT police's use of cages to transport kids in the Territory.

Amnesty International Indigenous rights advisor Rodney Dillon told NITV News communities have raised concerns about children being transported over long distances in the confined spaces.

He said in some communities adults remember being transported in the same cages when they were children, but fearing the police local whistleblowers have asked to remain anonymous.

"There's not much worse you could do to a kid than put them in a cage on the back of a truck," Mr Dillon said.

"I think that we're at the stage where we shouldn't be doing those sorts of things to kids, we should never have done that to kids.

"It's an unacceptable practice, it's unsafe, if we have a rollover of one of those vehicles, kids could die in the back of one of them trucks.

"It's an unsafe work practice. It's not safe for the driver and it's not safe for the children in the back either."

Mr Dillon said Amnesty International had taken their concerns to the Northern Territory Government, but were told they were not worried about it.

Mr Dillon said it should be a matter of priority for the NT Chief Minister.

"They should be concerned with this, this is an inhumane act to do this to kids and it should be stopped, it's a practice that shouldn't go on any longer," he said.

"Why is it only Northern Territory that thinks it's fit to cart kids in cages? I don't know of anywhere else in the world that police would cart kids in cages like that.

"It's not acceptable in Victoria, it's not acceptable here in Tasmania, so why would it be acceptable in the Northern Territory?

"Have they got a different culture up there? Are they more inhumane to their people than we are down here?"

A spokesperson for the NT police force told NITV News on Friday that the 'police cage' vehicles are a "certified safe" way to transport people.

"When there is a requirement to transport youth, caged police vehicles may be utilised," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"Air is the preferred conveyance method but availability is an issue."

The spokesperson said NT Police are "committed to delivering the highest level of custodial care to all people who are transported in our custody".

The spokesperson also said it is dangerous to fit restraints such as a seatbelt into the caged part of these vehicles.

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