On the blog: Working with our Multicultural community

Leading Senior Constable Jason Narovska

Leading Senior Constable Jason Narovska joined the Australian Federal Police in 2005 following six years of service in the NSW Police Force. He has worked as a member of the People Smuggling Taskforce in Christmas Island to investigate breaches of the Migration Act and in the Solomon Islands on the Weather Coast in Provincial Policing and Honiara General Duties. Since joining ACT Policing in 2009, he has worked at Tuggeranong Police Station, the ACT Watch House, as part of the Crime Targeting Team and is now working with the Community Safety South Proactive Team.

Leading Senior Constable Narovska has received a number of awards and recognition during his career including the Police Overseas Service Medal, a National and the Police Service Medal, Australian Defence Medal, AFP Operations Medal, Northern Territory Government Intervention Medallion for Service, Commissioners Citation for Hazardous Overseas Service (Honiara Riots 2006), the ACT Emergency Medal and the Outstanding Police Officer Award in 2012. He has a Graduate Diploma of Public Policy and Administration, a Bachelor of Policing, and a Bachelor of Management.

I have been a member of the Community Safety Team for the last two years and a Multicultural Liaison Officer for the majority of that time.

I believe the real strength behind a police agency is the level of trust it holds with its community, and if you lose this trust you lose your effectiveness. My role is to develop relationships with members of the community who are often neglected or left without a voice, due to cultural or language difficulties. I try to build this trust through rapport and support. This doesn’t happen overnight and often takes years to build. 

I was deployed twice to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory in 2008 for nine months as part of Operation Pleach; to protect children in remote communities. I learnt a lot of great lessons up there and when you’re working in small communities in the top end of Arnhem Land, you need to use what resources you have to build trust – so we used AFL to engage the kids and get them back into school. It was hard to get them involved at first as we were police officers who didn’t look like them and didn’t speak their language but when it worked, it was very rewarding.

I’ve tried to apply these lessons of engagement that I learnt up north and overseas to my policing in Canberra; engaging with communities that have tended to be closed off to main stream policing. I have met with members of various multicultural communities and asked them what they think their relationship is with ACT Policing. I was often confronted by what they said but it’s clear that two-way communication is the key; otherwise, issues can fall on deaf ears. I was once told by an elder, that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and that we needed to first learn to listen before we can hear. 

We are often able to work with community elders to resolve issues that arise. There was a multicultural family, whose children were suspected of stealing an iPad from a school. We were contacted by the case officer and spoke with an elder in the community. They were able to assist the investigators to talk to the parents and with open communication, the police were able to resolve the issue.

We also work in partnership with ACT services such as Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) and the Canberra Interfaith Community to discuss our role as police and issues such as family violence, respect and tolerance. We also attend community events such as the Canberra Show, the celebration of Eide Al Fitre and the Hindu Festival of Lights. 

I look forward to being part of the National Multicultural Festival again this year and I encourage you to come and say hi between 18-19 February. ACT Policing will have a stall just outside the Canberra Center near the fountain. For more details, visit our Community Events page.