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Police To Establish New National Gang Unit And Frontline Teams To Increase Pressure On Gangs

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has today revealed plans to establish both national and frontline gang-focused units to combat offending and intimidation by gangs.

“Gang members commit a disproportionate amount of crime and harm in New Zealand, and particularly in the areas of serious assault, robberies, drug and firearms offences, and homicides.

“Police has been working hard to combat the impact of gangs and organised crime groups in recent times, through targeted national and district operations, organised crime investigations, Offender Prevention Teams, and many other responses.

“A new National Gang Unit is to be established to enable the continuation of this work and build our operational capability further. The Unit will work with Police districts across the country, drawing on the successes of Operation Cobalt and other coordinated responses to gang funerals and other gang activity.

“The National Gang Unit will support district-based staff to plan and coordinate enforcement, resources and Police responses, in a determined effort to continue applying pressure on gangs to disrupt and prevent gang-related crime, disorder, and intimidation.

“Incoming legislation will provide Police with new tools to respond to the harm caused by gangs, and help ensure communities feel safe. The National Gang Unit will help ensure our officers can effectively enforce the intent of the legislation,” says Commissioner Coster.

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“To further our frontline capability, we will also be investing in new Gang Disruption Units. These will be dedicated district teams to help identify, target and catch priority offenders, and maintain a focused view of the gang environment.”

Today’s announcement signals the start of a process to establish these frontline Gang Disruption Units. Resourcing allocations will be determined through this process in consultation with District Commanders and is likely to include a mix of reprioritised and new investment.

“Policing gangs and serious offenders is an all-of-Police priority. The new gang units will boost our focus and capability, but they are not working alone – our whole frontline is involved in preventing the crime and harm caused by methamphetamine, organised crime, and gangs, whether through road policing, organised crime investigations, prosecutions, or prevention activity.

“At a time in the world when safety and feeling safe is an evolving picture in many countries, New Zealand is still one of the safest countries to live. But the gang landscape is changing, and Police will continue to adapt to meet these challenges head-on.

“Ultimately, it’s about supporting our frontline to keep everyone safe and deliver the best results for our communities.

“Work to implement the National Gang Unit is currently underway. Once complete, the work of Operation Cobalt will be continued through the National Gang Unit.”

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