Viper Taskforce launched to target organised crime groups

Victoria Police has unveiled a new approach in its fight against serious and organised crime groups.

The VIPER Taskforce is a tactical and investigative unit based within Crime Command focused on preventing, detecting, deterring, disrupting and dismantling the criminal activities of groups such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, organised crime networks and street gangs.

The taskforce will support the work of specialist investigation units and regional police by providing further resources to assist with investigation tactics and enforcement actions.

The taskforce was recommended following the completion of the Crime Command review in 2021. It is the first time Victoria Police has created a taskforce of this nature, which was developed following an examination of similar type models across Australia and internationally.

It will bring together detectives, general duties police, intelligence officers and members of the Public Order Response Team, with support from specialised road policing members, to create a multi-discipline team.

This diverse mix of specialist skills and experience within a single taskforce will provide a unique opportunity for police to target all aspects of criminality linked to these groups, their associates and facilitators.

80 police officers will initially be deployed to the VIPER Taskforce, which will be led by a detective inspector.

Day to day, their work will involve a range of enforcement and prevention actions with the flexibility to be deployed anywhere in the state at short notice.

They will proactively target criminals including those involved in incidents such as homicides and shootings.

This means members of the public can expect to see an increased and highly visible response to incidents across the state involving serious and organised crime groups.

The VIPER Taskforce will also proactively target known members, associates and facilitators of these groups to ensure police are doing everything possible to create a hostile environment for those involved in this criminality.

Examples of this include firearm prohibition order searches, bail compliance checks, policing of OMCG runs, vehicle checks enforcement, and deployment to events known to host members of serious and organised crime groups.

Critically, the work of the VIPER Taskforce will build on the contemporary intelligence Victoria Police has on these groups and those involved or associated with them.

They will also work closely with a range of other state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to take advantage of contemporary organised crime intelligence from across the country.

The VIPER Taskforce will commence duty on Monday, 4 July.

VIPER is an acronym for visibility, intelligence, prevention, enforcement and reassurance.

Anyone with information about serious and organised crime activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to Link

Quotes attributable to Chief Commissioner Shane Patton:

“We want to create the most hostile environment for organised crime in Victoria and we make no apologies for that. The VIPER Taskforce will increase the pressure on these criminal groups through a range of enforcement activities designed to hold them to account. We will be targeting their every activity.

“As the nature of organised crime continues to evolve, we know we have to be agile and change the way we confront these groups. I have no doubt the VIPER Taskforce will significantly enhance our ability to proactively target, disrupt and dismantle organised crime.

“This is one of the most significant, coordinated and proactive moves against organised crime syndicates in Victoria Police’s history and I expect there will be immediate results when it comes to community safety.”

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