The school-based police program was designed in collaboration with the Department of Education (DoE) and the Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations (COGSO), the program was launched in ten government schools at the start of Term 4, 2018.
The new model aims to address issues raised during the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory with a greater focus on safety, youth engagement and youth diversion.
At the time of announcement, a commitment was made to report on the progress and effectiveness of the SBP Program in Term 1, 2019. To inform the report, a review of the SBP Program has been undertaken by the Department of Education, in consultation with stakeholders. Including school staff, SBP officers, students, COGSO, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), the NT Council of Social Services (NTCOSS) and the Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APONT).
In its first six months of operation, the SBP Program has been well received by schools, with principals acknowledging the importance of “proactive policing” and students stating that it, “is very important to have police here at school …we see them walking around.” Officers wearing firearms, although a concern for some stakeholders, was not identified as an issue during consultation with school staff and students.
This report commences with background information about the new SBP Program and how it has evolved, before highlighting some features of the original NT School-Based Community Police Program as a contextual framework for the reader. The methodological approach taken will be discussed briefly before proceeding to an analysis of the data and synthesis of the findings in accordance with recurring themes, prior to the conclusion and presenting recommendations.
The following recommendations have been developed as a result of the review to enhance SBP Program clarity, consistency and effectiveness.
- Develop a service delivery framework for the Police in Schools Program that clearly defines the program aim, target student cohort, roles and responsibilities, line management accountability, key performance indicators and program evaluation requirements (DoE and NT Police to develop jointly).
- Update the operational guidelines for the Police in Schools Program to provide a clear and accessible document that articulates the service delivery framework for schools and SBP officers (DoE as lead agency with NT Police input).
- Review, update and rebadge the Drug and Personal Awareness Safety Program (developed by DoE and NT Police in 2008-09) as the Police in Schools Resource Kit.
- Provide program-specific professional development to SBP officers to enhance consistent and key messaging in the school context (DoE and NT Police to action).