The Custody Notification Officers (CNOs) are key to the operation of the State’s CNO system. The Custody Notification System runs on a 24/7 basis with the CNO’s being the first contact point between a community member in custody at local police station, the police officers investigating the matter, and a VALS Criminal Lawyer.
The three full-time CNO’s work a 24-hour roster from Monday – Friday afternoon, and the casual staff work a roster from Friday evening to Monday morning. They check on the health and wellbeing of people in custody, liaise with police and contact out of hours legal advice from our lawyers when they need to. CNO’s manage relationships with 332 police stations across the State.
Between 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, the notification team processed over 11,100 individual notifications from police stations regarding Aboriginal people in custody. On average each notification generates a minimum of five additional calls ensuring the client’s wellbeing is being monitored, liaising with police, providing legal advice, notifying family or friends, and locating other appropriate supports services. The Metropolitan CNO Program received in excess of 55,500 phone calls during this period.
The Metropolitan CNO Program is also instrumental in providing employment pathways for our people. Through our Casual Weekend CNO section, several Aboriginal people have gained full time employment at VALS as Lawyers, Client Service Officers, Paralegals, Local Justice Workers, and Admin Support.