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Laws give police more tools against gangs

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice

28 October 2009 Media Statement

Laws give police more tools against gangs

Three bills that reduce the influence of gangs in organised crime and the manufacture and spread of methamphetamine have been passed into law.

The Crimes Amendment Bill, the Local Government Amendment Bill, and the Sentencing Amendment Bill (No 2) were formed out of the Gangs and Organised Crime Bill

Justice Minister Simon Power said the bills represented an important step toward increasing the range and effectiveness of tools available to police for investigating and disrupting organised criminal activity, and prosecuting and penalising those involved.

"These bills tick off another of the Government's 100-day post-election initiatives.

"Not only do gangs cost billions of dollars in economic, social, and health costs, they are a source of unacceptable victimisation, intimidation, and harm to members of the community.

"Gangs and organised criminal groups are heavily involved in violent, drug-related, and property crime. A significant proportion of the importation, manufacture, and supply of illicit drugs can be attributed to organised criminal groups.

"Getting tough on gangs is part of the Government's priority to improve public safety.

"No government can afford to get complacent when it comes to gangs, and these laws reflect how seriously the National-led Government takes this issue."

The Crimes Amendment Bill:

* Expands police surveillance powers by enabling them to apply for an interception warrant to investigate participation in an organised criminal group, and for a wider range of serious violent offences.

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* Doubles the maximum penalty for participation in an organised criminal group, from five to 10 years’ imprisonment.

* Clarifies the evidential requirements to prove that offence.

The Sentencing Amendment Bill (No 2) makes participation in an organised criminal group an aggravating factor at sentencing.

The Local Government Amendment Bill enables police and territorial authorities to seek a removal order against gang structures that are intimidating in nature.

"The combined effect of the legal tools enabled by these bills will mean police are much better equipped to safeguard public safety by combating the insidious problem of gangs and organised criminal activity," Mr Power said.


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