WESTERN suburbs police multicultural liaison officer Richard Dove has thrown his support behind a plan to attract more Africans to the force.
Leading Senior Constable Dove, who works with migrant communities in Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham and Brimbank, believes the recruitment drive will help them feel better represented by the police.
"There are reports, anecdotal and statistical, of a spike in crime in some areas in relation to the African community," he says, "but more so it is a community that needs to feel represented. They need to feel they belong."
As a multicultural liaison officer, Leading Senior Constable Dove visits newly arrived migrants and teaches them about how the force operates. He says some migrants are wary of police because of their experiences in their home countries.
It's his job to convince them police in Australia are different and he believes that having a mix of cultures in the police force will make this easier.
"My job is to be the first face they see and show them Victoria Police are different and that we are not government-controlled and not going to hurt them and kill them. If we get that message out to the African community we will attract people who are properly skilled to the police force."