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Australian anti-gang laws showing the way

15 September 2008

Australian anti-gang laws showing the way

"There's no silver bullet, but laws like those in South Australia turn up the pressure and make gang lifestyles less comfortable and less attractive," Police Association President Greg O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor pointed to the raft of world-leading anti-gang legislation in Australia, and urged New Zealand policy-makers to look wider than just the South Australian law.

"We don't like coming second to Australia in anything, but if there was a Bledisloe Cup for anti-gang laws, they would clean up," Mr O'Connor said.

"It's not just South Australia. Western Australia passed world leading asset seizure laws in 2000. Since 2002, New South Wales has had effective legislation for tackling public intimidation by banning offenders from public areas.

"New Zealand law enforcement is dragging the chain. Gangs have raced ahead on the back of the 'P' trade, becoming true organised crime syndicates, and we have yet to even see effective asset seizure legislation passed," Mr O'Connor said.

"The Police Association actually highlighted the South Australian laws as long ago as November last year. But as far as police officers are concerned, it's never too late to start.

"Getting on top of gangs requires a sustained, coordinated attack at all levels. The big positive for New Zealand is we don't have to look far to find a wide range of ideas and approaches, all being tested in the real world. We should pick and mix the best of them to reverse the alarming growth of our gang problem," Mr O'Connor said.

ENDS

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