The Police Association totally rejects the payment of nearly $3 million to a Mongrel Mob-led methamphetamine addiction programme - a scheme that has riled a growing number of police officers, particularly those involved in organised crime investigations.
Association President Chris Cahill has been contacted by officers asking why they should even bother making the huge commitment and taking the risks they do to bring to account gangs who are armed, dangerous, and dealing meth on a massive scale, when the money is just going to go back to the gangs.
"One officer likened it to the most successful money laundering scheme he’d heard. Police take $2m of dirty money - as they recently did from the Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob in Operation Dusk in Hawke’s Bay - and the Government returns $2.75m in clean money to people so closely linked to the same gang," Mr Cahill says.
"Association members are clearly angry that Police hierarchy and the Ministry of Health consider a gang such as Notorious Mongrel Mob, which is responsible for the majority of meth dealing in central Hawke’s Bay, should now be trusted stewards of millions of dollars to fix a problem they are instrumental in creating."
Mr Cahill says the association’s criticism is not directed at drug rehabilitation initiatives.
"We know only too well the crisis that exists in this area. Our members are left to cope every single day with people who need assistance and rehabilitation from drug use. New Zealand is so short on rehab resources that it falls to officers to do the caring, often in police cells, which are no place for a person who requires expert medical help," he says.
"It is difficult to understand how those who promote the need for drug rehabilitation seem blind to the dreadful optics of this Mongrel Mob scenario - let alone have faith in this multi-million-dollar scheme to do anything but line the pockets of key gang leaders."
The association asks for this money to be funnelled to legitimate addiction services in provincial New Zealand who are crying out for such help.
Mr Cahill also wants Police to listen more closely to their staff and understand how the Mongrel Mob in this region operates, to recognise the extent of the harm they cause, and to wake up to the wafer-thin layer between those receiving the Proceeds of Crime funding and those who deal meth and create the problem.
"I’d say that’s the least the staff who work at the sharp end of organised crime deserve," he says.
"Otherwise, we will see a growth in gang-run addiction services, which is really akin to a pharmacy infecting its customers with a cold, and then selling them cold medication."
For more information contact:
Jane Young | Communications Manager / Strategic Advisor, NZ Police Association.
Email: [email protected], Tel: +64 (0)4 496 6817, Mobile: +64 (0)27 268 9412