NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione paid a special visit to ten TAFE students who have completed a 2014 indigenous program.
The Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery Program (IPROWD) is a state-wide program that focuses on assisting Aboriginal people to gain entry to the NSW Police Academy in Goulburn -the first exciting step to becoming an officer in the NSW Police Force.
Among the ten graduating students was Lake Illawarra resident Steven Poole, who simultaneously received the annual Gibbs Award.
Other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates from the program were former boxer Tamika Clarke of Wollongong, Alicia Libbis of Nowra, Tom Matthews of Culburra and Lachlan Watts of Gerringong.
Now having successfully completed the IPROWD program, each student has already received individual assistance in completing their applications to join the NSW Police Force.
The program has shown great success with more than 70 graduates continuing their careers in the NSW Police Academy since the start of IPROWD in 2008.
The program is offered through a partnership between TAFE NSW, NSW Police Force and the Australian Government. Along with Commissioner Scipione, the students were joined by NSW State Manager Leon Donovan, Indigenous Affairs Group, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Gareth Ward MP, Acting Deputy Commissioner and Chair, IPROWD Steering Committee Carlene York, Commander Southern Region Commander Superintendent Gary Worboys, IPROWD founder and State Manager Peter Gibbs, Former Senior Constable NSW Police Force, recipient of the Cross of Valour and author of The Cost of Bravery, Allan Sparkes and TAFE Illawarra’s Institute Director Dianne Murray.
Commissioner Scipione said some wonderful opportunities lay ahead for the students.
“Since the launch of IPROWD, more than 70 graduates have gone on to become probationary constables or follow other career paths within the NSW Police Force,” the Commissioner said.
“IPROWD is a fantastic program that allows us to come together with Aboriginal communities from across NSW and give people the prerequisites it takes to come and join us.
“They all have to be university students and often they may just fall short of what’s required to get there.
He said the percentage of Aboriginal officers within the NSW Police force was not high enough.
“When I first took on the roll the target in NSW was to have two per cent employment in the force being Aboriginal,” he said.
“I thought that was grossly underdone and immediately doubled that and that is still underdone.
“We have set targets for the NSW Police Force to have 1000 Aboriginal officers within 10 years and we are well on the way to exceeding that,” he said.
“Indigenous officers bring with them understanding and experience of their own culture. They have a blood bond with communities that are so much a part of NSW.
IPROWD started in Dubbo in 2008 to help indigenous Australians to gain entry to the NSW Police Academy.
The program expanded across the state in 2010 as a partnership between TAFE NSW, NSW Police Force and Charles Sturt University.
The students received a Certificate III Vocational and Study Pathways, which meets the entry requirements for the Associate Degree in Policing Practice offered by Charles Sturt University.