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Minister Welcomes Police Gang Unit

Hon Mark Mitchell
Minister of Police

Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says.

“The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will bring to bear the highest levels of Police expertise in targeting and harassing gang members and make maximum use of new tools brought in by this Government to suppress and contain the misery that gangs cause.

“Gangs exist only to cause and perpetuate violence and misery in our communities. New Zealanders need only look at the fatal shooting in Ponsonby recently by a gang member to see the impact that a 73 per cent increase in gang membership from 2017 to 2023 has had on violent crime in our communities.

“The establishment of a National Gang Unit extends on the work already done by Operation Cobalt and will build operational capability when combatting gangs. In addition, Police are investing in Gang Disruption Units at a district level to identify, target and catch priority gang offenders.

“It is totally unacceptable that there is a group in society that believes it is above the law. We back our Police to tackle gangs and welcome their initiative in announcing both the new National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units.

“This announcement comes off the back of Police’s significant operation to control the recent Killer Beez convoy from Taupo to Auckland with a renewed focus on protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens over and above the rights of gang members, including the deployment of the Eagle helicopter.

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“We have a plan to recruit 500 additional Police and we’re giving them powers to crack down on gang offending, introducing legislation to ban all gang insignia in public, create greater powers to stop criminal gangs from gathering in groups and communicating, and give greater weight to gang membership at sentencing.

“The Government is firmly focused on restoring law and order and today’s announcement from Police is a big part of that.”

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