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Time to smash the gangs

 

 The Government has done enough talking about the ill-effect of gangs on our community, so now it’s time for real action required to smash gangs once and for all, says Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash.

 

“In 2014 the Government approved a ‘Whole-of-Government Action Plan to Reduce the Harms Caused by New Zealand Adult Gangs and Transnational Crime Groups’.

“The report highlighted the damning statistics around gangs, crime and the cost to society.

“In March 2016 the Ministry of Social Development released a report on gangs that revealed 9 out of every 10 gang members had received the main benefit on average for 8.9 years between 1993 and 2014.

“Gang members had been paid over $500m in benefits in that period alone. This has to stop.

“We know so much about gangs and yet they continue to thrive while spreading social disease and destruction through drugs, crime and neglect. This is totally unacceptable.

“Nearly three quarters or 2,624 of the identified 3,627 gang members have been arrested and charged between January 2014 and Oct 2016 so a tougher strategy is urgently needed.

“First, we need more resources. There are less than 200 police, or 2 per cent of the total force, primarily involved in investigating organised crime which is a total nonsense. The fact that this Government has not forecast an increase in police numbers until 2020 is just ridiculous.

“This Minister knows the impact of gangs on our communities. It’s time she stepped up or stepped aside and let someone who is committed to the eradication of gangs take control.

“If we smash the gangs we will go a long way to disrupting the drug supply chains and distribution rings that spread evil throughout the country.

“Under Labour, we will focus our 1,000 new police on fighting organised crime and strengthening community policing. Both will have a mandate to smash the gangs,” says Stuart Nash.