Faith in the force

A KEY communal advisory body to Victoria Police has gained a rabbinical voice, with the appointment of Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant (pictured left) to the Victoria Police Multi-Faith Advisory Committee.

Rabbi Kluwgant, a police chaplain and police liaison of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV), and its immediate past president, is the first rabbi appointed to the advisory committee, which was formed six years ago.

The committee, chaired by Commander Ashley Dickinson, has been widened to include religious leaders alongside lay communal leaders, who are members of the police’s Multicultural Advisory Unit (MAU).

Rabbi Kluwgant has joined the committee amid fears the MAU could face closure after a series of reviews by the Victoria Police Operations Coordination Department, of which it is a constituent body.

Community representatives, who sit on the Police Multicultural Advisory Committee, are deeply concerned at proposals to close the MAU.

Although as yet no official recommendations have been made by departmental reviews, there is speculation the closure would enable police to budget for more uniformed members to combat street crime.

A strong supporter of retaining the MAU, Rabbi Kluwgant described his appointment as “a true sign of the MAU’s understanding of the role that the religious leadership plays in police-related matters. There are leaders from a wide range of faiths who now sit on this committee.”

“I’m very happy to be sitting on that committee. It’s another opportunity within the state of Victoria for leaders of various different faiths to come together on matters of common interest. This is something which has been a passion of mine for quite a while.”

Commenting on Rabbi Kluwgant’s appointment, RCV president Rabbi Yaakov Glasman said: “Not withstanding recent media coverage indicating that the Multicultural Advisory Unit may be discontinued, the RCV’s direct relationship with Victoria Police has never been stronger and we look forward to celebrating the fourth Cops and Rabbis luncheon later in the year.”

A spokesperson for Commander Dickinson said this week there has been no response yet from the team reviewing the future of the MAU.

PETER KOHN