BLACKTOWN police have called on residents and the media to help calm community tension by not publishing hateful and unsubstantial remarks on social media sites and in the newspapers.
Local area police commander Superintendent Gary Merryweather was referring to people calling for retaliation and in some newspapers in relation to the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl by six men at Doonside on February 8.
He said he met with leaders of the African and Torres Strait Islander communities to discuss calming the community last Tuesday night.
Community leaders and police officers walked side-by-side through the Blacktown CBD last Thursday night to allay community fears resulting from the incident.
‘‘It also showed unity between different communities and their good relationship with the police,’’ he said.
Superintendent Merryweather said police had arrested one of the alleged suspects and was confident of tracking down the others soon.
Superintendent Merryweather called on people not to fall prey to racial hatred.
‘‘It’s wrong to stereotype people just because they are African or Torres Strait Islander background,’’ he said.
He said his officers would intensify foot and mobile patrols of trouble spots.
Pastor Chris Bonsu of Living Word Church in Prospect said he advised his youth congregation to be calm and help prevent the incident from causing community violence.
‘‘It was a very ugly incident,’’ he said.
‘‘I asked them to support the police in tracking down the suspects who brought shame to their community.’’
Ramese Tupe from Doonside’s Mountain View Seventh-Day Adventist Church — which has a large Pacific islander congregation — also urged his youth congregation to be calm last Friday night.
Sudanese community leader Deng Thiak Adut said the police should be allowed to do their job and called on residents to stop making senseless attacks on a particular community.
Mr Deng — who also attended the walk with police — said residents should look at it as a criminal act by individuals rather than their community.
‘‘No one from any community will support such a horrific act on a young girl, irrespective of her background,’’ he said.
‘‘A crime is a crime, no matter what background the offenders come from.’’