Page 950 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2018
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Steel for his question. I thank the member for an important and serious question. Criminal gangs do pose a risk to our community and this government takes this very seriously. We are working closely with our law enforcement authorities and, indeed, all agencies to keep our community safe and mitigate the threat posed by these criminal gangs. We are fortunate to have a highly professional and capable police force. This was on display over the past few days.
I have spoken previously about Taskforce Nemesis, the ACT police task force charged with tackling criminal gangs. This task force was expanded in 2016 as a result of $6.5 million in additional funding provided by this government. This funding is helping to make our city safer. Yesterday, ACT Policing executed seven warrants across Canberra. Because of this action, police were able to take off our streets three firearms; 270 rounds of ammunition; over $50,000 cash—my advice is that that is suspected to be the proceeds of crime; approximately 28 grams of what I am informed is believed to be methamphetamine; and approximately 12 grams of what is thought to be cocaine. In addition, a 29-year-old man has been charged with firearms-related offences. I am also advised that other investigations are ongoing.
As the deputy chief police officer of crime noted after yesterday’s raids, “Taskforce Nemesis continues to focus on serious and organised crime and apply pressure to members of criminal gangs.” Yesterday’s raids were the latest in a long list of activities that Taskforce Nemesis has been undertaking to prevent and deter criminal gangs. It is important to note that the ACT is not alone in dealing with this challenge. These criminal gangs operate across many Australian jurisdictions. But I want to commend the officers of Taskforce Nemesis and all officers of ACT Policing for their hard work and dedication. (Time expired.)
MR STEEL: Minister, how are new legislative powers assisting ACT Policing to respond to criminal gangs?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank the member for the supplementary question and the opportunity it provides me to add to my earlier answer. Madam Speaker, you may recall that late last year the government brought a bill to this place to provide police with new powers to help tackle the issue of criminal gangs.
I thank all members for their support in the passage of that bill, which helped create a new offence around drive-by shootings and new crime scene powers. The latter has strengthened the tools that ACT Policing have available to them with respect to investigating and bringing to justice members of criminal gangs.
Madam Speaker, I can inform you and all members that ACT Policing have started using these powers. My advice is that the crime scene powers have been used on two occasions already. Both occasions occurred this month.
On the first occasion, I am advised, ACT police were able to use the crime scene powers to preserve evidence for collection. This occurred by police being able to secure and relocate a vehicle. This vehicle was then able to undergo forensic testing. I