NZ Police put organised crime under the microscope
13 March, 2018, 6:48 pm
Update: 6:48PM NEW ZEALAND Police are increasing efforts on reducing the harmful effects of organised crime on their communities with the establishment of a taskforce in Tauranga that will focus on organised crime and asset recovery in the Bay of Plenty area.
New Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the taskforce was strategically based in Tauranga and underlined Police’s intent to help create safer communities by focusing on organised crime, methamphetamine production and importation, and asset recovery in the Bay of Plenty area.
“Organised criminals with transnational ties are operating in the region,” Commissioner Bush said in the NZPF report issued today.
“This taskforce will target the connections of local criminals to networks in Auckland and Waikato, which are known to have a national reach.
“As well as targeting the criminal side of organised crime, Police will also be focusing on the business side of their behaviour by investigating the financial crime that goes alongside drug supply.
“We know that some organised criminals seem relatively unconcerned about going to jail for lengthy periods of time, but when we restrain their assets and wealth accumulated through that behaviour, it hurts and that’s a good thing.
“It takes away the incentive to commit these crimes.”
Commissioner Bush said criminals did not deal in drugs because they liked drugs, but they did it because they liked the money this brought them.
He said since July 1, 2017, NZ Police had restrained NZ$34.42million in assets and forfeitures were $10.49m.
Assistant Commissioner Investigations Richard Chambers said the key way to reduce the effect of drug use in the community was by targeting those inflicting those drugs on communities.
“Stopping criminals from putting their own profit-making activities ahead of the welfare of our communities is what we are here to do, it’s our job,” Mr Chambers said.
“You only have to talk to someone with a loved one addicted to drugs to know that the harm drug addictions inflict on whole families lasts a long time, sometimes a lifetime.”
Mr Chambers said organised crime groups across New Zealand were well connected and when there was money to be made, they were willing to put their differences aside.
“Just as government agencies and private businesses see success by working with together, so do they,” he said.
“This taskforce will, therefore, operate to target the connections of local criminals to networks in Auckland and Waikato, which are known to have a national reach.
“We want to ensure no one accumulates wealth by being in the business of crime.”