Organised crime networks in our sights

Organised crime networks in our sights

Howard Broad, Police Commissioner

Dealing with organised crime is a major growth area in policing right now.
 
We are targeting crime networks that manufacture or sell methamphetamine. These networks have potential to create massive, illegal wealth for their bosses. And they create untold misery which rips through methamphetamine users, their families and affects whole communities. Even people with no apparent connection to drugs can become victims. Research shows frequent users of methamphetamine earn on average $5,623 a month from criminal activity, including burglary.
 
We have been using new tools to hit these offenders where it hurts - in the pocket. Organised criminals are motivated by money - they want the flash car, the beach pad and the fancy lifestyle. So any successful strategy against them has to take away those assets.
 
Last year, the Government passed legislation that allowed proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the Crown based on the civil standard of proof - meaning alleged criminals have to prove their assets were gained legally if they want to keep them. Previously, a criminal conviction was needed before assets were confiscated.
 
At the same time, a nationwide focus on methamphetamine has involved police in a range of roles throughout our organisation.
 
The results are impressive:

  • $36 million-worth of assets under investigation, including millions of dollars in cash, houses, vehicles and other property
  • 900 arrests for drug-related offences made since November 2009
  • an 80% increase in recorded offences for trafficking methamphetamine since November 2009.

People targeted in these investigations include members of organised criminal groups such as the Killer Beez, Asian gangs, Outcasts, Mongrel Mob and Headhunters. 
 
Working with other agencies such as OFCANZ (the Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand) increases our capabilities. In the past few months, we have disrupted organised crime networks and illicit drug-dealing throughout New Zealand.
 
Police are determined to use every way possible to bring perpetrators to account and strip them of assets gained through criminal activity.