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The Police Association backs proposed new legislation that aims to hit gangs where it hurts and curb intimidating behaviour.

It submitted to the justice select committee last month that moves to close gaps in the law that are glaringly obvious to the public and our frustrated members are much needed.

Law-abiding New Zealanders were sick of standing on the sidelines as gangs flaunted their ill-gotten wealth and power to intimidate each other with no care given to any collateral damage, the association told the committee considering the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill.

Police just want to get on with protecting communities while holding perpetrators to account.

The measures announced in July were:

  • Watches, jewellery, precious metals and stones, motor vehicles and boats added to list of high-value goods prohibited for sale for cash over a specified value
  • Expanding the range of offences where police can seize and impound vehicles
  • Up to five years’ prison for discharging a gun with intent to intimidate
  • New targeted warrant and additional search powers to find and seize weapons during gang conflict
  • Police able to seize cash over $10,000 when found in suspicious circumstances.

Less cash for stash

Laundering cash through commodities is extremely common among those involved in organised crime. The association fully supports this initiative to disrupt it. Taking the profit out of criminal activity takes the lustre off such money-making enterprises.

However, Te Aka Hāpai warns that the value level needs to be set at a realistic point to achieve the aim of the Bill.

Wheels off the road

Greater powers to seize or impound vehicles could provide a long-overdue reality check for those involved in “boy racer” activities and deliberate displays of aggressive driving by gang members.

Firearm intimidation

The association says the proposed amendment regarding discharging weapons fills an obvious gap with respect to gangs, but it will also have wider reach in non-gang scenarios.

Weapons in gang conflict

Permitting multiple uses of a warrant, albeit within restricted timeframes, recognises the practicalities of dealing with fast-moving crimes.

The association believes this section will give members the ability to deliver an agile response and will increase the prevention of crime.

Suspicious funds

This amendment regarding seizing “dubious” cash will have very real operational impact for members investigating organised crime, the association said.