Police chief speaks out

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EXCLUSIVE: NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, has spoken out against domestic violence after recent serious incidents in Penrith.


In an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Weekender, Mr Scipione condemned domestic violence as one of the most hideous crimes police officers have to deal with.


“Assaults overall are falling – of course if you were to drill into the assaults there’s domestic violence and non-domestic violence… [and] the one area where we have seen an increase is domestic violence while non-domestic violence is falling,” he said.


“But here’s the dilemma – we suspect the vast majority of domestic violence is not reported so what I am doing is encouraging people to make a report.”


The commissioner said that recent increases in the number of reported domestic violence cases suggests police are getting their message through and more victims are speaking up for themselves.


“Victims are prepared to come and talk to us and are confident we can do something about it and that is a good thing as we have to continue to do all we can to drive domestic violence out – it is unacceptable, its one of the most hideous crimes we have to deal with and certainly something we pay particular attention to,” he said.


Just last Sunday, a 22-year-old South Penrith man and a 27-year-old Whalan man were charged with affray after producing a knife at a Jamison Road residence and injured friends with a knife, who were taken to Nepean Hospital for treatment.


A second incident occurred at Fisher Avenue in South Penrith last Friday night when a 22-year-old man injured his younger female partner in a dispute resulting in puncture wounds to her legs.


However, the Commissioner is positive about the overall reduction of crime in Penrith and St Marys, with many key indicators showing a long-term decline in incidents such as break and enters and motor vehicle thefts.


“A very safe and very secure western Sydney would be what my hearts desire would be. If you were to look at crime rates today as opposed to what they were 10 or 15 years ago in western Sydney you would see break and enters are through the floor, the number of break and enters significantly reduced – all falling,” he said.


“Is that good enough? One car stolen, one house broken into one victim of crime is always going to be one too many s we should never be satisfied or happy about where we are.”


The solution has in part been improvements to the NSW Police Force’s customer service, a personal goal that Mr Scipione set forth when he was named Commissioner in 2007.


“We want to ensure the community that we do not own you, you own us,” he said.


Successful campaigns such as mystery shoppers to test police services, community awareness policing programmes and social media are the new tools of successful modern day policing.


“[Social media] is the way of the future for us. We have already seen outstanding interest and more importantly great connections with communities. We know that is the way the world communicates today so we just want to make sure stay contemporary – whether its our Facebook site, our Youtube site, twitter accounts. This is about ensuring we are there for our younger people as well,” he said.


Mr Scipione has set a deadline of June 2012 for all police local area commands to have a facebook page for Eyewatch – a 21st century version of neighbourhood watch, which will be rolled out to the Penrith and St Marys Local Area Commands in the coming months.


Mr Scipione also shared this vision as a guest speaker of the Penrith Valley Chamber of Commerce Luncheon last Friday.

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