Some of the world’s foremost experts in investigating gang-related crime will be in Melbourne this week as part of the Victoria Police Gangs Conference.
This is the first time Victoria Police has hosted an event of this type.
The three-day forum brings together key national and international partners across law enforcement agencies.
Detectives from the Echo Taskforce have organised the event, with a range of speakers from across the world including the USA and New Zealand.
The presenters come from a wide range of backgrounds and include Australian and international leaders in gang investigation, intelligence gathering, response and prevention.
Over the three days they will share their unique insights and experiences with criminal gangs such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, Middle Eastern organised crime groups, prison gangs, and other emerging criminal groups.
Themes covered during the conference will include the current Victorian and international gang landscape, gang intelligence, recruitment, use of social media and modern technology, and various case studies from a range of law enforcement agencies.
This conference is strongly supported by the Australian Federal Police National Anti-Gangs Taskforce and will also be attended by other experts in gang enforcement, from law enforcement agencies across Australia and internationally.
Crime Command Acting Assistant Commissioner Mick Frewen said the conference was a fantastic opportunity for practitioners from around the world to come together and share knowledge and best practice solutions.
“The Victorian gang environment is increasingly complex and linked to serious organised crime, which then results in significant high harm high impact offending,” he said.
“Over the past 12 months a number of our gangs, including OMCGs and Middle Eastern organised crime groups, have been at conflict and involved in significant public offending such as homicides and shootings.
“While much of this violence is targeted, we know it has a significant impact on the community’s perceptions of safety and increasingly we are seeing innocent parties get caught up in these incidents and end up killed or seriously injured.
“The groups are also often heavily involved in the drug trade, which also presents further harm to the community.
“However there is no doubt that the issue of gangs is not solely a Victorian issue – it’s something that we see in other states across Australia and countries throughout the world.
“A conference like things gives us an opportunity bring together people who are experts in their field, to collectively share that knowledge and also learn from each other.
“It also helps us build a better collective awareness of current issues and what is being done proactively to address gang-related crime within Victoria, Australia and internationally.
“We expect to be able to take a lot away from the forum that will allow us to ensure we are doing everything we can to best protect the Victorian community.”
A/AC Frewen also said that emerging technology is a key focus for police when it comes to gangs and their criminal offending.
“We’ve really seen that cyber crime and emerging technology have become great enablers for gangs and other organised crime groups,” he said.
“This then provides very particular challenges for law enforcement agencies with regards to how we keep up with these threats and trends.
“We’re seeing things like crypto currency become the way that these gangs commit serious fraud and money laundering offences, which then provides them with the opportunity to fund their criminal enterprises and clean their money.
“Police are also seeing new technology become an important part of how these gangs communicate with each other and recruit people.
“The days of it only being about guns, drugs and standovers are gone. This conference will really give us the opportunity to talk to practitioners from right across the world and see how we are each responding to it and how we can set best practice here in Victoria.”