24 Hour Service

24 hour police notification service

In 1991, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody handed down a number of recommendations to minimise the likelihood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody, and to address broader issues leading to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system.

One recommendation was the establishment of a notification service where police must notify the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSIL) in that state or territory whenever an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is taken into custody. This was to provide both a health and wellbeing check on the person, and to provide legal advice and access to representation at the earliest possible opportunity.

Whenever an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is taken into custody in Tasmania, police are required to contact TACLS. The person in custody can speak to staff about:

  • any health or wellbeing issues
  • contact with family or friends to advise they’re in custody
  • referral to a lawyer to give pre interview advice
  • can organise legal representation for a bail application.

The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania has good information for what happens if you are taken into custody here.