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Issue No. 412 April 2017

Tackling organised crime

A taskforce being created in the Western Bay of Plenty under the Safer Communities investment package underlines the intent to help create safer communities by targeting organised crime.

In Year 1 six investigators will be deployed into a Tauranga-based taskforce, supported by asset recovery and support staff, bringing the total strength to ten.

New taskforces will reduce the harm caused by organised crime.

The taskforce will help Police meet a target attached to the investment package - the seizure of $400 million of assets from organised crime over four years.

Tauranga has been chosen because of its status as New Zealand’s second fastest-growing city and the connections of local criminals to networks in Auckland and Waikato, which are known to have a national reach.

“We’ve listened to our staff working in the area and have the information that this is the right location for the taskforce, with further investment in organised crime still being considered,” says Commissioner Mike Bush.

As well as targeting networks, the taskforce will have a role in helping ‘small-town’ communities struggling with harm caused by organised crime and gangs.

The taskforce, which will report centrally, represents a model which could be replicated in other areas.

Elsewhere, extra staff will go into money laundering and asset recovery teams, and two analysts will be added to the Gang Intelligence Centre, based at Police National Headquarters (PNHQ).

Safer Communities also helps Police fight organised crime overseas. An analyst will be attached to the Australian Federal Police’s Gang Intelligence Centre in Canberra, and funding has been obtained to make permanent the constabulary position based in Guangzhou, southern China.

This region, where liaison officer Detective Inspector Phil Jones is currently based, is a prime source of the methamphetamine reaching Australasia. Basing liaison officers alongside local law enforcement provides the best opportunity to impact transnational crime.

“Criminal gangs in New Zealand are working with gangs and syndicates overseas and causing great harm to our communities,” says Commissioner Bush.

“We want to be the safest country, so we intend to hold criminals to account and reduce the harm they cause. We will not tolerate it.”

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