A time to strengthen community links

Practical reconciliation: Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald of Blacktown police celebrates Reconciliation Week with the Aboriginal community.

Practical reconciliation: Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald of Blacktown police celebrates Reconciliation Week with the Aboriginal community.

CHIEF Inspector Bob Fitzgerald of Blacktown police joined the Aboriginal community in the 2014 Walk and Concert for Reconciliation in Dawson Mall, Mount Druitt on Saturday.

Chief Inspector Fitzgerald, who is the Blacktown command's Aboriginal issues officer, said it was a great opportunity to build "new bridges of communication, compassion, understanding and learning between cultures".

He said that for many decades, indigenous children in Australia were often forcibly separated from their families.

"The Bringing Them Home report in 1997 shed light on this history of forced removal policies of past Australian governments and their devastating impact on Aboriginal communities and culture," Chief Inspector Fitzgerald said.

"National Sorry Day [May 26] sees thousands of Australians from all walks of life coming together to honour the Stolen Generations."

Bringing Them Home also highlighted how past policies sewed generations of distrust of police.

In more recent times police have not only reached out to indigenous communities, but also actively recruited among them.

The Concert for Reconciliation featured stage entertainment, stalls, demonstrations, workshops, Mount Druitt's Got Talent and a community walk around the Mount Druitt Town Centre.

"Reconciliation is the building of mutual and respectful relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to help the two cultures unite as one," Chief Inspector Fitzgerald said.

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