Western Australia's police chief has made a historic apology to the state's Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, saying the force has played a significant role in contributing to a traumatic history.
At an emotional ceremony on Thursday, Commissioner Chris Dawson said police being tasked with forcibly removing children from their families during the Stolen Generations era had damaged their relationship with indigenous people, and led to mistrust in law enforcers.
"In addition, land dispossession, violence, racism, incarceration and deaths in custody have occurred through a history of conflict with Aboriginal people and police," Mr Dawson said.
The devastating impact was intergenerational and continued to be felt by indigenous people, who were over-represented in the justice system, he said.
"On behalf of the Western Australian Police force, I would like to say sorry to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for our participation in past wrongful actions that have caused immeasurable pain and suffering," Mr Dawson said.
"From this day forward, and in my time as Commissioner, I will take steps to heal historical wounds.
"I'm optimistic about a more positive future but today, I am deeply sorry."
Mr Dawson told reporters there had been unconscious bias among some officers but "we shouldn't treat people differently".
He said he had felt the force needed to do better from day one of his 40-year career.
"There have been really bad mistakes made in the past and I want to make sure there's a tone set from the top," Mr Dawson said.
A 24-hour on-call legal service that will check the welfare of all indigenous people taken into police custody, a key recommendation from the inquest into the death of Ms Dhu, is due to become operational in WA before the end of this year.
The force has also been urged to implement a system to ensure cautioning someone about their right-to-silence is available in a variety of Aboriginal languages, a key recommendation stemming from the case of wrongly-imprisoned Kiwirrkurra man Gene Gibson.
Greens spokeswoman Rachel Siewert also urged the commissioner to focus on strong cultural awareness training, and equipping police with skills to work with Aboriginal people experiencing trauma, mental health issues, foetal alcohol syndrome or even hearing impairment.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were raised at the front of WA Police headquarters for the first time during the ceremony and will remain there permanently.
Sophie Coffin, a 22-year-old Ngangumarta Yindjibarndi woman who was crowned Miss NAIDOC 2018 in May, said it was long overdue recognition.