A national operation launched by Police to prevent firearms-related violence by criminal gangs and organised crime groups has been extended until 30 June 2022.
Initially launched in February 2021 by Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster, Operation Tauwhiro is a nationally coordinated operation to disrupt and prevent firearms-related violence by gangs and organised crime groups.
Since Operation Tauwhiro launched in February 2021, 1,531 firearms have been seized and 1,255 arrests made.
“We have seen how successful this operation and way of working has been, and we will continue it in the work Police carry out right across the country to prevent violence in our communities,” says Acting Assistant Commissioner Investigations, David Lynch.
An example of this work is demonstrated by a recent search warrant the Counties Manukau district staff executed in January. A number of firearms were located, including a semi-automatic rifle, two bolt action rifles, and a pump-action shotgun. Also located at the same address was a large amount of ammunition and a significant amount of cannabis and methamphetamine, which appeared to be prepared ready for sale. A person has been charged with Threatens to Kill, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of an Explosive/Ammunition, Possession for supply charges for Methamphetamine and cannabis, and Possess Cannabis Seeds.
There are many similar examples across districts such as a search warrant in Hastings finding firearms, drugs, and cash. Search warrants in Alexandra, Wellington, and Rotorua located illegally held firearms. All have had charges laid against them.
“Police has also continued to work with communities on the impacts gangs have across neighbourhoods and districts. The social impact of organised crime cannot be underestimated or forgotten, and for Police it’s important we play a part in supporting our communities through working with partner agencies so people can access support services for themselves and their whānau,” says Acting Assistant Commissioner Lynch.
“In addition to the seizures and arrests, Police has been working to prevent guns getting into the hands of criminal gangs and organised crime groups. This means working closely with our government partner agencies, gun retailers, gun clubs, and firearms licence holders to stop the diversion of firearms from legitimate ownership to the possession of those involved in criminal activity and firearms-related violence.”
Results as at 1 March 2022:
Firearms seized – 1,531
Arrests – 1,255
The data is provisional as it is drawn from live collection and is therefore subject to change as further information becomes available.
Police welcomes information from anyone who has concerns about organised crime, or the illegal possession of firearms in their community. They are encouraged to report online at 105.police.govt.nz, call Police on 105, or report anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-nz.org
Operation Tauwhiro will run until 30 June 2022.