'Enough is enough': police DV blitz as new laws loom

A police blitz on domestic violence has resulted in hundreds of arrests as officers prepare for a wave of complex cases when coercive control laws come into force.

During a four-day police operation targeting high-risk offenders, police charged 590 people with 1183 serious domestic violence-related offences. 

Of those arrested, more than 200 were wanted by police for serious domestic violence offences.

The crackdown comes ahead of the introduction of state coercive control laws, which are expected to increase police caseloads as investigators try to prove patterns of behaviour among offenders.

A file photo of Mal Lanyon
NSW Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon says the coercive control laws will be another tool for police.

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse in which a person is denied autonomy and independence, and can involve controlling someone's finances, communication and contact with family.

Under the laws, due to come into force in July, a conviction will carry a maximum seven-year sentence.

For a successful prosecution, it will have to be proved that someone engaged in repeated abusive behaviour and that they intended to coerce or control. 

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said the legislation would be one more tool police had at their disposal to keep domestic violence survivors safe.

"We've had significant training over the past four months to ensure that officers are very comfortable with the legislation," he said on Monday.

"One of the things I don't want people being concerned about is that waiting for court outcomes is stopping victim safety because that's not the case at all.

"We'll continue to use all of the legislation that we have, all of the intelligence we have to keep (victims) safe."

Mal Lanyon says the safety of domestic violence victims is not dependent on new legislation.

In November, Police Minister Yasmin Catley conceded officers were relying on "antiquated" computer systems to track domestic violence incidents.

NSW Police rely on a decades-old computer system known as COPS to track criminal reports, while planned upgrades have been delayed for years.

But the minister was confident systems would be sufficiently up-to-date in time for the coercive control legislation to come into force.

"The police are upgrading their IT systems all the time and the integration with coercive control laws will be in place for the IT system to accommodate that," she said on Monday.

Mr Lanyon said police were taking an "enough is enough" approach to domestic violence perpetrators, particularly repeat offenders.

"The message is clear for offenders: there is no safe place for you," he said.

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