A Pilbara elder has hailed a “world first” language app translating First Nations languages for better interactions between Aboriginal communities and police. The Yarning application, launched today after a trial in the Pilbara, provides spoken Aboriginal language interpretation of important information relating to rights in custody, COVID and youth messaging. It allows officers to select an Aboriginal language and play key messages to improve understanding by Aboriginal people who have English as a second language. The app currently features eight Aboriginal languages, including Martu, which were interpreted and endorsed by Aboriginal Interpreting WA, with three more being developed. Ngarluma Elder and Aboriginal Strong Leader member ‘MK’said the app would significantly bolster relationships between police and First Nations people, particularity when facing the justice system. “Too many times...when Aboriginal people come up to the court, when they are asked if they understand what is being said they say ‘yes’...but they can’t” she said. “There are also all these cultural obligations that prevent Aboriginal people from confessing or speaking.” Ms Kelly said bridging gaps would also improve outcomes for Indigenous people in the regions grappling with chronically high rates of suicide, mental health conditions, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the application would be available to every police officer across the state. “By providing key messages in Aboriginal languages we are being fair and showing the care we have for that community,” he said. “The app has the ability to be scaled up to include new messaging, which means we can get critical key messages, for example in emergency situations, in the hands of police officers to share with Aboriginal communities quickly.” The application was jointly developed by WA Police’s Digital Policing and Aboriginal Affairs Divisions.