A senior Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer has accused parts of the police service of racism, telling a parliamentary committee that heavy policing of indigenous people in WA was a disgrace.
ALS WA legal services director Peter Collins told the community development and justice standing committee that, as in the white community, pockets of the police service were racist.
"There is no doubt in my experience that Aboriginal people are policed far more harshly in this State," Mr Collins said.
He said the number of Aboriginal people arrested for swearing at a police officer was "mystifying".
"It's hard not to think that similar language used by a non- Aboriginal person would go through to the keeper," he said.
Mr Collins said a law that allowed for repeat offenders to be "named and shamed" was the most insidious legislation he had encountered.
He also described the Prohibited Behaviour Orders Act of 2010 as a "form of ethnic cleansing".
The legislation lets courts impose orders, including banning offenders from entering or being near certain premises.
Mr Collins said PBOs were being directed at homeless Aboriginal people, who often had alcohol and mental health issues, to remove them from public spaces where they were seen as affecting the local amenity.
The ALS had acted for more than 50 people on PBOs in the past 12 months. "These orders seek to ban them from the very places in which they live for up to two years," Mr Collins said.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin said he had no evidence from the ALS suggesting unjust or inappropriate use of PBOs.
"As far as I am aware, they have been used sparingly," he said.
On criticism that ALS lawyers were not available after-hours, Mr Collins said there was not enough money to have lawyers always available and he could not require staff to work after-hours.WA Police Union president George Tilbury criticised the ALS in evidence last week, saying staff were unresponsive, indifferent and unavailable after-hours.