Gang numbers on the rise

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says the number of gang members in New Zealand is increasing. Times file photo

The Government’s soft on crime approach has seen a spike in gang numbers across the Auckland region, National’s Police spokesperson and Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says.

“It is time for some real action. The Government needs to acknowledge the gang problem in Auckland and get tougher on crime.”

Figures released to National show gang numbers have grown to almost 8000 nationwide, with an 11 per cent increase in patched members across Auckland’s three police districts in 2020 and a 36 per cent increase since the Labour Government came into office in late 2017.

“Gangs do nothing but peddle misery, inflicting violence and harm on the good people in our communities,” Mr Brown says.

“It is concerning that they are gaining such a foothold in Auckland. I worry that good people in our communities are becoming targets of their illegal drug trade and other serious crimes.”

Last year, 798 people joined gangs across New Zealand, with many hundreds more potential members being prospected. Gang membership nationwide has increased by a staggering 46 per cent under the current Government.

To combat this, Labour must deliver on its 2017 promise of 1800 new frontline police and urgently adopt National’s draft legislation to make Firearm Prohibition Orders legal so Police have the powers they need to seize guns from gangs, Mr Brown says.

“As gang numbers continue to rise, so will the amount of serious crime and violence in our neighbourhoods, where people have a right to feel safe.

“The Government can’t continue to pretend this isn’t a problem. Urgent action is needed to strengthen our laws and give Police tools they need to combat gangs before it’s too late.”