Police across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria have made more than 250 arrests as part of Operation Alliance and a concerted focus on other serious and violent offenders in the past month.
Operation Alliance, which commenced on 13 September, was established to prevent, disrupt and dismantle youth street gangs responsible for crimes such as robberies, aggravated burglaries, serious assaults, car thefts, and home invasions.
Over the past month, local police have been working closely alongside specialist units from Crime Command, Intelligence and Covert Support Command, Transit Safety Division and the Public Order Response Team to target youth gangs across suburbs in Melbourne’s north-west, south-east and east, as well as Geelong.
In addition to this, police have also been focusing on other known offenders and persons of interest in relation to serious and violent crimes.
Combined, this has resulted in 251 arrests, including 70 people remanded in custody.
More than 720 charges have been laid as part of Operation Alliance and the focus on other serious offending across the state for offences including robbery, armed robbery, aggravated burglary, theft of motor vehicle, conduct endangering life, car theft, breach bail, firearm and drug offences.
The large majority of offenders arrested as part of Operation Alliance were males aged between their mid-teens and mid-twenties.
A total of 88 search warrants were executed at addresses across the, including in suburbs such as Caroline Springs, Deer Park, Werribee, North Melbourne, Cranbourne, Dandenong, Pakenham, Corio, and Bell Post Hill.
These warrants resulted in the seizure of items such as illicit firearms, drugs, and prohibited weapons such as knives, tomahawks, swords, tasers, knuckle dusters, and machetes.
A total of 24 Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs) were also issued across the state as part of the focus on serious and violent offending, including 21 in Greater Geelong alone, as police continue to target illicit firearm use to reduce the impact of firearms related violence in the community.
Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations Rick Nugent said Operation Alliance would remain focused on targeting youth offenders engaged in the networked criminal offending causing the most harm within our community.
“Operation Alliance uses an integrated and coordinated approach to tackling youth gangs in every region, division and police service area across the state.
“This sees local police working alongside specialist units – sharing real-time intelligence and information, aligning enforcement activities and collaborating closely with external agencies who support our operations.”
“We anticipated Operation Alliance would be successful and that has proved to be the case early on, with multiple arrests and seizures of dangerous items, such as firearm and other weapons, in the operation’s first month.”
“Combined with a strong focus on other serious and violent offending in the regions, this has meant there are 70 serious offenders currently sitting in cells awaiting their court date, rather than roaming our streets harming the community.
DC Nugent said youth gangs aren’t solely restricted to offending in their local neighbourhood, with offenders often striking in a sequence and showing no reservations travelling across Melbourne or through regional Victoria to commit further crimes.
“We are utilising and sharing real-time intelligence to not only remain one step ahead of offenders to prevent further crimes from occurring, but to also identify and target the key influencers within these groups.”
“We make no apologies for targeting the individuals who commit the most serious and violent crimes in our community, whether that’s through arrests, bail compliance checks, proactive patrols in known hotspots, or issuing FPOs.”
Crime Command’s Commander Mick Frewen said the operation was also successful in allowing specialist units, such as the Gang Crime Squad, to work alongside regional police to significantly build their intelligence in relation to these gangs.
“Experience has shown us that the people involved in these gangs, as well as other organised crime groups, will frequently change allegiances and methodologies,” he said.
“Operation Alliance has allowed us to build on our knowledge and give us a strong picture of what youth gang offending looks like right now across the state.
“This allows us the best opportunity to focus on current offending trends and also work to prevent further offences from occurring.
“It’s also been valuable to have some of our specialist resources such as the Gang Crime Squad deployed across the state and the results have highlighted this.”
Operation Alliance is an ongoing operation that will remain integral to disrupting and deterring serious and violent offending across the state, including combating any anticipated increases in offending as restrictions are eased in metropolitan Melbourne.
Anyone with information about offences or gang activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au