Community night patrols in the Northern Territory: Toward an improved performance and reporting framework


This Technical and Background Paper summarises the results of a Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department’s funded project.

The project aimed to clarify the contribution of the community night patrol program in the Northern Territory (NT) to improving the community safety of Indigenous communities. The paper recommends an improved framework for monitoring performance and reporting. Community night patrols or similar services operate in many other areas of Australia and internationally. The paper concludes that the core business of community night patrols is (non-crisis) crime prevention not defacto policing. It also concludes that an unrecognised outcome of patrols is capturing and sharing local knowledge about community safety issues and solutions.

Over time, community night patrols should focus on working with other services to reduce the need for repeat assistance to persons at risk and for risky incidents.

The recently released Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report (2011) confirmed that communities and service providers surveyed largely support night patrols, but better data is required to more comprehensively assess their performance.