Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NZ needs a gang taskforce says Aussie detective...

The head of Victoria police's Purana Taskforce says New Zealand needs to set up a similar group to fight organised crime

An Australian detective says New Zealand police need to crack down on organised crime or face a situation similar to Victoria's bloody gangland killings.

Detective Inspector Bernie Edwards heads Victoria's Purana Taskforce, formed in 2003 following a series of bloody gangland killings in the state. In six years they have seized $80 million worth of assets and caught 24 offenders for 37 murders.

Mr Edwards spoke this morning at the Police Association conference and says we can learn from what has happened in Australia to prevent similar violence here.

"Our crisis was the gangland killings that woke us up to the fact that organised crime is here. The more we delve the more drugs, money - you name it they're into. New Zealand, you don't need your crisis, you've realised you've got a problem, because the world's got a problem."

Mr Edwards says hopefully New Zealand police can learn from the mistakes of their Australian counterparts, to stop organised crime before the shootings and killings start.

"One of my main messages I want to get across to New Zealand - organised crime isn't coming, it's here. And it's here to stay and it's globally - it's not just people committing single crimes, they just commit whatever crimes are possible."

Mr Edwards says it is also up to the Government to address the issue. He says New Zealand needs a group similar to the Purana Taskforce.

"If New Zealand got a heavily resourced and supported organised crime squad . . . then people start listening and hearing all your successes in the media - then you can start building up a credibility to ask for legislation changes."

Mr Edwards says if the nation does not do anything, the next generation of criminals is going to be unstoppable.

Acknowledgements: 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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