National counterparts descend on Melbourne with serious and organised crime in focus

Cybercrime, illicit firearms, outlaw motorcycle gangs and child sexual exploitation are some of the many topics being discussed this week by Victoria Police alongside national counterparts.

Leaders from law enforcement agencies across Australia have descended on Melbourne this week as part of the Serious and Organised Crime Coordination Committee (SOCCC) meeting to discuss the year’s biggest issues.

The meeting incorporates Assistant Commissioners and high-ranking officials from every Australian state and territory policing jurisdiction as well as the Australian Federal Police, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Tax Office, AUSTRAC, Australian Border Force and New Zealand Police.

The SOCCC brings together the capability and expertise from all state and national law enforcement agencies in the efforts to combat serious and organised crime.

The power of national collaboration has been proven in a number of different responses to organised crime over recent years, including efforts to reduce the threat of OMCGs in Australia, disrupting the manufacture, trafficking and use of illicit firearms and drugs and removing children from sexual or physical harm.

New and emerging trends around cybercrime, cryptocurrency, corruption, fraud, drug trafficking and manufacturing are also in the spotlight, requiring coordinated efforts to disrupt.

Serious and organised crime cost the Australian community up to $60.1 billion in 2020-21, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology.

These figures indicate how persistent, persuasive and destructive organised criminals can be to the community. The SOCCC is focused on keeping the community safe from the harm caused by these criminals.

Anyone with information about organised crime activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or by visiting Link

Quotes attributable to Victoria Police Crime Command Assistant Commissioner, Robert Hill:

“We are pleased to host our state and territory counterparts and national partners in Melbourne this week.

“The transnational nature of serious and organised crime – enabled through the new and emerging technology used by criminals – has challenged the traditional investigative practices across our organisations.

“We know that crime does not respect state, national or international borders so it requires a collective focus of our efforts to address and combat it.

“Victoria Police provides expert insight into organised crime in our state and works closely with our state and national counterparts to share information, target criminals and disrupt their organised illicit activities.

“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are a significant priority for Victoria Police, and the Echo and VIPER Taskforces are leading the way for the organisation in targeting and disrupting these groups, which can only be achieved through close collaboration with state and federal partners.”

Quotes attributable to AFP Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan:

“Many of Australia’s most serious criminal threats – including fraud, child exploitation, illicit drug importation and money laundering – have strong offshore links, which put them beyond the reach of traditional law enforcement tactics.

“The AFP is in a unique position to combat these threats through our strong international network, which sees the agency on the ground in 33 countries internationally, with the ability to quickly deploy world leading technical capabilities around the globe.

“Criminals should be warned – their activities and their illicit wealth are not safe from the long reach of the AFP, no matter where they try to hide.”

Quotes attributable to New Zealand Police Assistant Commissioner Sue Schwalger:

“New Zealand Police partners with our Australian counterparts in the effort to combat serious and organised crime. No one country or agency can tackle this issue alone. International law enforcement cooperation is important in our common ongoing efforts to dismantle organised crime groups and the enormous harm they cause our communities.

“New Zealand Police is constantly looking to disrupt how these groups operate. As they continue to adapt and grow, we will continue to target these groups and individuals that align themselves with them.

“New Zealand Police is grateful for the support of our international partners and the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another in the global fight against organised crime. We look forward to continued, collaborative efforts in the future.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Border Force Acting Assistant Commissioner, James Watson:

“The ABF is committed to working with its partners both in Australia and abroad to protect the community from serious and organised crime.

“Over the past 12 months numerous joint operations between the ABF and our state and federal partners have dealt significant blows to organised crime figures who seek to import illicit goods into Australia.

“Major drug seizures show that these strong partnerships can prevent and disrupt organised crime syndicates who try to import illicit substances into the country.”

Quotes attributable to Dash Sivakumaran, Acting Executive Director Intelligence Operations at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission:

“The SOCCC collectively assembles the power and expertise of Australia’s operational efforts against the serious and organised crime targets that pose the greatest threat to Australia’s interests, and the ACIC will continue to work in in collaboration with our partners to enhance community safety in Australia.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Taxation Office Deputy Commissioner John Ford:

“Organised crime is motivated by greed and profit. The ATO brings a unique set of skill, capabilities and tools to move profit from these criminals’ hands and return it to the government for use within the broader community.

“Since 1 July 2021, our Serious Organised Crime program has completed more than 400 reviews and audits, raised over $205 million in liabilities and collected more than $75 million.”

Quotes attributable to AUSTRAC Deputy CEO Intelligence, Dr John Moss:

“Financial intelligence is often the missing piece of the puzzle, and AUSTRAC’s analytical capabilities can uncover suspicious transactions indicative of a wide range of crimes, from money laundering, to drug and human trafficking, to child sexual exploitation.

“AUSTRAC identifies financial transactions that enable criminal acts and refers this intelligence to support partner agencies, leading to early visibility of threats and timely disruption efforts.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald, State Crime Commander:

“The NSW Police Force is always on the front foot when it comes to targeting OMCG members who wish to disrupt the peace and commit criminal acts. Our investigators are proactive, dogged, and keen to make the community a safer place.

“The cooperation and intelligence sharing between our cross-border state, federal and international law enforcement partners not only strengthens the protection of NSW, but it helps to suppress acts of violence and identify those who are engaged in criminal activity.

“The message from NSW Police is clear – if you engage or associate with such outlaw criminal groups who intend to cause potential harm to the wider community, be prepared for the scrutiny and attention by law enforcement.”

Quotes attributable to WA Police Assistant Commissioner Tony Longhorn:

“WA Police Force has a proven track record for pursuing drug traffickers to all corners of the globe and in partnership with other law enforcement agencies.

“Transnational serious and organised crime simply does not recognise State or international borders,” Mr Longhorn said. “WA Police Force has ramped up its efforts with other law enforcement agencies in order to stop organised crime impacting our community.”

Quotes attributable to ACT Deputy Chief Police Officer, Assistant Commissioner Peter Crozier:

“We know through wastewater monitoring the ACT has higher per capita usage of certain illicit drugs than many other cities – and this leads to a significant negative impact on our community.

“While we have had success targeting the criminals who supply these illicit drugs into the ACT – we are well aware that constant pressure needs to be applied to these groups. Participating in the Serious and Organised Crime Coordination Committee allows us to draw on the combined intelligence this group produces to target those profiting from this misery.”

Quotes attributable to Adrian Bodnar, Assistant Commissioner Tasmania Police:

“Tasmania Police works closely with other jurisdictions and our national and international partners to investigate serious and organised crime and bring offenders to justice.

“Our Crime and Intelligence Command, in collaboration with partner agencies, continue to achieve positive results in combatting child exploitation and drug trafficking, by disrupting offender networks and activities.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner Katherine Innes, Crime and Intelligence Command:

“The Queensland Police Service invests significant resources into investigating syndicates, OMCGs and individuals involved in serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking, gang violence and online child exploitation.

“Every day our officers from the Organised Crime Gangs Group’s Maxima and Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group’s Argos are working in partnership and sharing intelligence with state, federal and international partners with who are all committed to a single goal, which is to stop these groups causing harm within our community.”

Quotes attributable to Northern Territory Police Assistant Commissioner Crime, Intelligence and Capability, Michael White:

“The Northern Territory is the Australian gateway to Asia. NT Police works in collaboration with partner agencies to prevent our close overseas links from being exploited by organised crime groups to cause ongoing harm in this and other jurisdictions.

“The Northern Territory is geographically large with a smaller population but it is not immune from the activities of organised crime groups. The benefit of these circumstances has been the forging of close ties and joint agency arrangements with our law enforcement partners.”

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