An Aboriginal police officer has told how his boss made him keep his food in a separate fridge to his colleagues in an appalling act of workplace racism.
Western Australia Police Inspector Geoff Regan said he was about to leave his dinner in an officer break room when a sergeant stopped him and made a racial slur.
‘My wife had brought my dinner up. I was going out to the crib room to leave it there and the sergeant came up and said “where are you going”,’ Insp Regan told the documentary film Incarceration Nation.
‘I said “I’m going to put my food in the fridge”.
‘He said “you’re not putting it in our fridge… you b**gs, you cook differently. You go and get another fridge and clean it out and you can put your food in there”.’
Insp Regan recalled through tears how he followed his superior’s orders and kept his food away from that of his colleagues.
‘I went out the back into the storeroom and got a little fridge and washed it out – that was my fridge,’ he said.
The veteran police officer, who joined WA Police in the 1990s, has previously spoken out against the racist abuse he has received from other officers.
WA Police Inspector Regan recalled through tears how his superior made him keep his food in a separate fridge to his co-workers
He said one day he opened his locker to find a golliwog with a noose around its neck.
‘Being called a coon and stuff like that,’ he told ABC Radio Perth in 2020.
‘Back in those days there wasn’t the safety that we are currently working towards now.
‘You’d stand up, you’d tell people to bugger off, you’d challenge it. Did we have the full support, like we have now? No.’
He said the force had improved significantly in its handling of Indigenous affairs in the years since.
In 2018, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson made an historic apology to Indigenous people, who are over-represented in prisons across Australia.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson (pictured) in 2018 made an historic apology to indigenous people, who are over-represented in prisons across Australia
Insp Regan, who joined WA Police in the 1990s, has previously spoken out against the racist abuse he has received from other officers
Mr Dawson said police were key participants in past wrongs against indigenous people in the state over decades.
Those wrongdoings included enforcing government policies of removing mixed-race children from Aboriginal families until the 1970s.
The children are known as the Stolen Generations. Many were institutionalized, abused and neglected.