Government initiatives set to crack down on gangs

By Aroha Treacher

Gang life has an intergenerational nature in New Zealand with around 4000 known members across the country, many of whom were responsible for 25% of homicide related charges last year. Hence Government motives to establish a specialised gang intelligence centre, monitoring gang behaviour and crime, to steer at risk youth from gangs and support families and members turn away from the gang lifestyle.

The Mongrel Mob is one of the most historic gangs in New Zealand and it's also one of the largest. Black Power life member, Denis O'Reilly says Anne Tolley has been given some bad advice.

“I think it's mistaken because they've confused organised crime with this social issue and they're not really addressing the social issue,” says Denis O'Reilly

However, it's not just the Mongrel Mob or the Black Power that the Government is looking to keep tabs on through its new gang policy, but all gangs.

According to Anne Tolley, “Evidence shows that these organisations are trying to expand and that while overall crime is decreasing serious offending by gang members is increasing.”

It's proposing to set up a Gang Intelligence Centre that would be led by Police. They are wanting to start a home programme to address intergenerational gang membership, Furthermore, they are wanting to target drug trafficking and strengthen legislation to allow for better monitoring of high-risk gangs.

While the Government plans to get tough on gangs, it's going to be a tough ask as one thing is for certain, gangs aren't going anywhere any time soon.

While it's apparent that controlling gangs and their behaviour is not an easy task, this new legislation would see gang members come under harsher penalties than other criminals.

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