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Organised crime must get high priority

Simon Power MP National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

17 January 2008

Organised crime must get high priority

Organised crime must receive high priority when the Organised Crime Agency replaces the Serious Fraud Office, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting after a report into options for replacing or retaining the SFO raised concerns that organised crime might not be treated as a priority under a new structure.

"It's a concern that the focus has been off organised crime, and Justice Minister Annette King must assure the public that this will not be the case under the OCA.

"It's essential that its mission is clearly defined and that it has adequate governing and reporting structures.

"We must ensure that the emphasis on organised crime is not lost when the switch is made from the SFO, and that the OCA has stronger laws to back it up.

"We need to make legislative changes in all the right areas if it is to have an impact.

"There is no point changing one organisation for another without giving it the tools to do the job.

"Among the tools needed are:

* The ability to nominate gang membership as a factor in sentencing.

* More power for police to remove and storm gang fortifications.

* Making it easier for police to intercept gang communications.

* Laws that make it an offence to be a member of a criminal organisation.

"It would also be good to get some indication from the Minister as to when the OCA is to be formed. We must not lose focus on tackling organised crime."

ENDS

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