Blacktown’s new top cop aims to tackle domestic violence

New Blacktown police commander Superintendent Gary Merryweather aims to change the perception of  the area as the criminal and domestic violence capital of NSW.

The former police commander of Quakers Hill with some 28 years’ service took over the reins two weeks ago.

‘‘The perception of Blacktown as a criminal area is worst than in reality,’’ Superintendent Merryweather said.

‘‘Our monthly reports show its crime rate is much lower than many local area commands in the state.

‘‘Many older residents and visitors often believe the worst when they see young people loitering around the CBD or some residential areas in a rowdy manner.’’

As for Blacktown as the domestic violence capital, Superintendent Merryweather said he would be working with the community and with business people to combat the problem.

‘‘I will encourage people to speak up that they will not accept this and call on businesses to support employees affected by domestic violence,’’ he said.

‘‘Employers should also give their victims time off  to consult the police and court.’’

Superintendent Merryweather said he would be meeting with Blacktown Council, business organisations and community groups to discuss introducing joint strategies on the problem.

He also plans to increase the use of  Eyewatch and Facebook as he believes social media sites have been very effective in giving and receiving public information to solve crimes.

He aims to continue former Commander Mark Wright’s community program Com4unity Cup to create stronger connections between local youth and the community.

●The stigma of Blacktown as the state’s domestic violence capital is based on a 2010 police report that says its 1737 domestic violence incidents were the highest, with the rate of domestic violence incidents per 100,000 people at 579.4.

●That’s almost double the rate for Sydney statistical division (324.7) and NSW (364.5).      

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