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Bleed The Gangs, Don't Flatter Them

Bleed The Gangs, Don't Flatter Them

Predictable political calls to outlaw the gangs always miss the mark, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Outlawing gangs can be like bingeing to beat bulimia - it gives them extra glamour and would only work with unlikely resource levels for police, as well as a commitment from the Government," Mr Franks said.

"It would entangle police in futile courtroom battles. They, and judges, will struggle with definitions, and there are legitimate liberty concerns. A law banning gangs could mutate into a law against unpopular clubs, or religious or political groups.

"Criminal gangs can easily be bled to death. Our great grandparents did it. They used well-tried, and traditional, law. For decades, judges could add non-association orders to sentences, which are very simple - if a released convict is seen associating with other known criminals, they are locked up again.

"Justice Minister Phil Goff's Sentencing Act restricted association orders, and he was too politically correct to accept ACT's amendments, last year, to restore traditional powers to judges. Many of his Labour colleagues secretly feel criminal gangs are a legitimate form of cultural expression.

"Bleeding the gangs with non-association orders is a workable policy - `outlawing them' is just a slogan," Mr Franks said.

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