BATHURST women Zoi Petford and Kaitlan Weal are among a group of 19 young Aboriginal people who are now a step closer to their dream of becoming a NSW Police officer.
The pair was among the latest Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) graduating class that finished their course on Friday.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie attended the graduation ceremony in Dubbo and had nothing but priase for a program that is seeking to increase the number of Indigenous police officers.
“It’s a great day for them [the 19 graduates]. They’ve worked hard for the last 15 weeks and it’s great to be here and see them graduate from the IPROWD program,” he said.
“We’re really proud of it and pleased with the way its going. Not only does it provide employment with the NSW police but many have gone on to other employment or further study. It’s a wonderful program and we’re happy to be part of it.”
Since starting in 2008, there have been 833 students who have completed the IPROWD program with 95 of those now employed by the NSW Police Force, while 20 others are currently at the academy in Goulburn.
Additionally 450 students have used their program qualifications to find other employment or go on to further studies.
Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said the program had made a big difference.
“To see young Aboriginal people wanting to join the NSW police in the numbers they do now is such a step forward for us, from even 10 years ago,” he said.
“IPROWD is nearly 10 years old and when it started, the numbers of Indigenous police officers were quite small but we are growing all the time and we currently have 17 at the Academy who are in the process of joining. It’s significant numbers for us.
“We encourage anyone who has a desire or a dream to become a police officer to pursue that. There are many pathways into the police and I would like to see them come and join us.”