Monday, March 4, 2024

Police powers boosted to tackle gang crime

Police with have more tools to crack down on gang offending with the passing of new legislation to improve public safety, Justice Minister, Kiri Allan said today.

The Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill amends existing law to:

  • create new targeted warrant and additional search powers to find and seize weapons from gang members during a gang conflict;
  • expand the range of offences where police can seize and impound cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles;
  • create a new offence of discharging a gun with intent to intimidate;
  • provide Police with the ability to seize cash over $10,000 when found in suspicious circumstances; and
  • add watches, jewellery, precious metals and stones, motor vehicles, and boats to a list of high-value goods prohibited for sale for cash over a specified value.

“Gang violence and intimidation is intolerable and leaves our communities feeling distressed. The Government has delivered practical and targeted measures for Police to continue to keep our communities safe,” Minister Allan said.

“The Government has a strong track record in combatting organised crime, gangs and drug use, including removing unlawful firearms off the street, actually progressing firearm prohibition orders, delivering nearly 1700 additional police officers and investing in hundreds more officers focused on serious and organised crime.”

Under the new legislation, anyone caught discharging a firearm to intimidate others, such as during a drive-by shooting, faces up to five years in prison. Police will also have more powers to search for and seize weapons during times of gang conflict.

The new laws also target dangerous and intimidating driving, money laundering and the moving of large amounts of money to facilitate offending by gangs.

“These new laws build upon the legislation passed yesterday to strengthen the Criminal Proceeds Recovery regime and make it harder for gangs and their leaders to benefit financially from crime.”

“I’m pleased to be able to deliver these measures at a time when police have just reached a major milestone of more than 30,000 charges laid in Operation Cobalt, which focuses on disrupting unlawful gang behaviour. This followed Operation Tauwhiro, which led to 1800 firearms being seized from organised criminal groups,” Ms Allan said.

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