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It's Time to Get Rid of Gangs

It's Time to Get Rid of Gangs

Friday 19 Jul 2002

The ACT Party wants Parliament to declare the Mongrel Mob, Black Power and other gangs to be criminal organisations.

"It is time to get rid of gangs," ACT leader Richard Prebble said today in Palmerston North.

"Eighty percent of crime in New Zealand is now gang-related.Gangs are now organised crime organisations.

"There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 gang members and associates in New Zealand. There are three times more gang members than police. Gang members are not intimated by jail, with prospects regarding their first prison sentence as part of their initiation.

"The 1998 legislation to hold gang members accountable for the actions of the gang has been amended by the Labour government this year, so the section has proved totally ineffective. ACT would rewrite Section 98A of the Crimes Act to enable gangs to be declared illegal criminal organisations, and increase the sentence for being a member of an illegal organisation.

"If the Italian government can declare the Mafia an illegal organisation, we can declare gangs illegal in this country.

"ACT's proposed amendments would also give police the power to get a court order black-listing a gang where members commit three or more serious offences within a two-year period.

"The present law is useless as a crime fighting tool. The police today have to prove a person's level of participation, how much they know about the gang's criminal activities and whether criminal activity is listed in the gang's objectives. Not even the Mongrel Mob are that silly. All this needs to be proved in a prosecution.

"ACT will introduce a Bill to outlaw gangs - whether or not ACT is part of the next government. ACT recognises that the police need to be resourced and ACT will do this.

"Security of the citizens is the first obligation of the state," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS


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