Page 5127 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

As I have done before in this chamber, I would like to commend the efforts of the Chief Police Officer and her officers and staff, who work tirelessly to protect the Canberra community. While Canberra remains a very safe city to live in, we are not immune to the presence and activities of criminal gangs, including those who travel from interstate.

Led by the dedicated Taskforce Nemesis in response to recent incidents of gun violence linked to criminal gangs, ACT Policing has reinvigorated high visibility targeting and proactive patrols around known criminal gang premises. Taskforce Nemesis was bolstered in August 2016 when the ACT government committed an additional $6.4 million in funding over four years. This additional funding was to increase Taskforce Nemesis by eight additional staff to boost its investigation, intelligence and confiscation of assets capabilities and also to provide a range of physical and electronic capabilities for ACT Policing.

Through Taskforce Nemesis, ACT Policing cooperates closely with its state and territory counterparts and relevant commonwealth agencies. This is not a problem unique to the ACT. Commonwealth efforts have resulted in two ACT-based OMCG members being subjected to visa cancellation under the Australian Border Force led Project Ravelin. The government continues to work with ACT Policing to ensure that police have the necessary tools at their disposal to effectively deal with serious and organised crime entities and, wherever possible, to confiscate their criminal assets and put offenders before the courts.

MR STEEL: Minister, how do recently introduced legislative reforms from the ACT government assist ACT Policing’s actions to combat criminal gangs?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Steel for the supplementary question. I continue to talk with the CPO about practical legislative and operational measures to address serious and organised crime in order to keep Canberra a safe and secure community. As a result of these discussions, ACT Policing identified that specific powers to secure a crime scene to protect evidence while a warrant was sought would be beneficial to their ability to gather sufficient evidence to prosecute suspected offences. In addition to these powers, the creation of specific offences to address drive-by shootings will subject this dangerous behaviour to a serious penalty, even if it cannot be shown that a particular individual was the target of the shooting.

The government is also committed to the introduction of legislation to establish an anti-fortification scheme in the ACT. Fortifications are, of course, structures designed to stop or hinder uninvited entry to premises. They may provide criminal gangs with time to vacate premises, delay police entry and frustrate the execution of search warrants through the destruction of evidence. Laws allowing police to apply for an order which requires fortifications to be removed or modified may therefore assist police to effectively target serious and organised crime.

The ACT government will continue to work closely with ACT Policing to ensure that any decisions on law reform and resourcing are informed by best available evidence on the local and national picture on criminal gangs. There is no simple legislative

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video