Potent strike against organised crime

Potent strike against organised crime

Howard Broad, Police Commissioner

It was fantastic to hear about the successful termination of Operation Abyss in Northland.
 
This was the first strike against organised crime led by a group known as OFCANZ - the Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand.
 
OFCANZ targets criminal groups whose illegal activities pose the greatest threat to New Zealand. These networks and gangs build business enterprises on drugs money, profiting from the misery and harm they cause families and communities.
 
Investigating such cases is invariably complex because the illegal activity crosses the turf of many government agencies, nationally and often internationally. A drug ring, for example, is police business but can overlap into Customs (as raw ingredients are smuggled in), Corrections (ring-leaders have been known to operate from prison) and Inland Revenue (through money laundering).
 
Organised crime is like a cancer.
 
You can't get rid of it by cutting off one or two bits. International experience shows the best approach is for government agencies to become better organised than the crime networks and strategically attack from all sides.
 
That means results take time, but they are significant.
 
Operation Abyss involved over 100 personnel from more than six government agencies including New Zealand Police. Thirteen people were initially arrested and are expected to face around 160 charges in relation to selling, supplying and conspiracy to supply and manufacture methamphetamine.
 
This is just the start. I see so much potential in working collaboratively to make New Zealand a far more hostile environment for organised crime groups.
 
New legislation will empower police to make things tougher. Next week the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act will come into force, meaning criminals who avoid conviction can still be made to forfeit their wealth. The Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Bill aims to help agencies like OFCANZ follow the money trail through financial systems so crime profits can be located and seized.
 
I would like to recognise the work Northland Police put into Operation Abyss and congratulate OFCANZ for its good result. May it be the first of many.