Police in Western Australia will now be required to notify Aboriginal legal service solicitors whenever an Indigenous person is detained after the state government finally committed to a new program this week that is designed to stop deaths in custody.

Partially funded by the Commonwealth, the custody notification system (CNS) is closely modelled on a system in place in New South Wales since 2000. Prior to the introduction in WA on Monday, NSW and the ACT were the only states and territories in Australia to have formally implemented the CNS. The commitment comes 27 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended the introduction of a national CNS, and four years after similar recommendations made by the coronial inquiry into the death in custody of WA Aboriginal woman, Ms Dhu.