Tasman District Police are focused on eliminating organised crime and limiting the harm caused by gangs, with the rollout of further Organised Crime Unit (OCU) positions in the district.
Over three years, the goal is to build up an OCU presence in both the West Coast and Marlborough areas, says Detective Inspector Mark Chenery.
The rollout to other areas began last year with two Detective Constables being placed in the West Coast OCU.
“This year, I have appointed a Detective Sergeant to the West Coast and there are two Marlborough Detective Constable positions currently being advertised.
“We will continue to build on this, adding further OCU positions to the West Coast, Marlborough and Nelson in 2022.”
“The new OCU positions support the current Tactical Crime Unit. The goal is to provide a more direct focus on each areas’ organised crime challenges.”
Police are aware of locals reporting more overt gang activity in the community, with more patches and gang paraphernalia.
“The behaviour of these individuals is designed to intimidate, and has not historically been part of our community makeup.
“We’re concerned about the unease this brings members of our community and we are determined to ensure everyone is safe and feels safe.”
This has been evident in several recent operations targeting drug offending, which have resulted in drugs and firearms being located and seized.
One of these was West Coast Operation Joaquin in September, which saw three people arrested on charges including supplying methamphetamine, cultivating cannabis, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police will continue to take a hard line on organised criminal groups, and locals can expect to see further search warrants, arrests, and targeting of members of organised criminal groups.
This offending causes huge social harm to our community and Police is committed to limiting this harm.
“We also work with our partner agencies, iwi, and community organisations to ensure there is support for families and victims, as well as for offenders who want help to change. Groups such as the recently announced Methamphetamine Impact Group on the West Coast are a good example of agencies and NGOs working together to rid this behaviour from our communities.”
We also need the public’s help. The smallest piece of information on activity or people you find suspicious, could be the key Police need to open or further investigations into criminal offending.
When coming forward to Police, your identity can be kept anonymous – and there is also Crime Stoppers, on 0800 555 111, who can receive information and tips on behalf of Police.
Alternatively, you can speak confidentially with Detective Sergeant Brent Lyford the new Head of the West Coast OCU Unit, to share information that may help Police.
Together we can keep our communities safe from the intimidation and harm that organised crime causes.