Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare today announced the establishment of a National Anti-Gang Taskforce to fight gang-related crime across Australia.
“People in our local area are worried – with good reason. There have been more than a hundred shootings in Western Sydney in the last year,” Mr Clare said.
“Local residents are worried that a stray bullet could hit and kill an innocent person. This is not just criminals shooting criminals. There is a real risk that an innocent person could be killed.
“Our police are doing a good job but it’s obvious that more needs to be done. That’s why I have established the National Anti-Gang Taskforce.
“Over the past few months I have met with police from Bankstown to Blacktown. Their advice to me is that the best way to tackle gang crime is to seize their cash, their cars and their homes.
“The National Anti-Gang Taskforce will do just that. It will bring together a number of State and Federal law enforcement agencies with other federal agencies, such as the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink, providing a holistic approach to tackle gang-related crime across Australia.”
The $64 million Taskforce will be made up of 70 officers from the Australian Federal Police and State Police forces and will also include officers from:
- Australian Taxation Office;
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship;
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service; and
- Australian Crime Commission.
Strike Teams will be established in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Liaison officers will be established in Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.
A new Australian Gang Intelligence Centre (AGIC) will also be established to provide national criminal intelligence on gang activity across Australia and its links overseas.
The Taskforce is based on the FBI’s Violent Gang Safe Street Taskforce model that has resulted in over 55,000 arrests in the United States since 2001. The FBI Safe Street Taskforce is built on co-operation between local, state and federal investigators.
The National Anti-Gang Taskforce will:
- Directly target, investigate and arrest gang members in Australia
- Provide State and Federal law enforcement agencies with intelligence on gangs across Australia and overseas.
- Provide State and Territory Police with better access to key federal agencies like the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, to get the information they need to make arrests.
- Investigate the activities of Australian based gangs overseas and the link to crime back in Australia.
- Work with international law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, the United States bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Interpol to exchange intelligence and conduct joint operations.
Media contact: Ryan Hamilton 02 6277 7290