Deportation boosts gang activity

NZPA | Thu March 1st, 2018

Photographed standing beside gold-plated motorbikes, Comanchero gang members have been boasting online about setting up a chapter in New Zealand.

ComancherosThe crowing and posturing come as no surprise to police, who have been concerned about the potential activities of this particular gang since Australia began deporting Kiwi crims back to New Zealand two years ago.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, head of the National Organised Crime Group, confirmed in the media last month that the Comancheros had formed a Kiwi chapter and they appeared to be aligning themselves with the Mongrel Mob in Waikato and the Filthy Few in Tauranga.

Police are most concerned about the gang’s predilection for the use of firearms, conflict with other gangs and extreme violence. Last month a former president of the Comancheros was shot dead in a Sydney car park in what was believed to have been a revenge killing.

The Police Association has long been concerned about how members of outlaw motorcycle gangs deported from Australia would contribute to the “professionalisation” and sophistication of gangs here, including developing and expanding methamphetamine networks.

Early last year, president Chris Cahill warned that gang competition for the meth market in New Zealand could have severe consequences in terms of public safety and policing.

Critical area for resourcing

Our own members continue to sound the alarm on gang activity and the level of resourcing needed to tackle it.

In last year’s Association Member Survey, one officer was quoted as saying: “I believe the organised criminal element in New Zealand are now sufficiently armed and pose a threat to all members of society, let alone police. As a frontline sergeant, I believe that police should be armed at all times, along with more and better training in the handling and shooting of firearms.”

His concerns about equipment and training were echoed in the survey results with two out of three respondents saying the Police response to organised crime and drugs was under-resourced.

When asked to name the single-most critical area for additional resources, organised crime and drugs was the second area of concern (after frontline/general duties), but the level of concern had risen more significantly than in previous years – 18 per cent compared with 14 per cent in 2015. The concern for frontline resources had risen by 3 per cent (from 61% to 64%).


Concerns about existing and growing gang activity are not confined to Police. A ground-breaking whole of government approach, initiated two years ago, led to the formation of the Gang Intelligence Centre – a multiagency organisation, hosted by Police, and based at Police National Headquarters in Wellington.

Through the application of comprehensive data analysis from across government departments, its aim is to try to break the cycles of harm generated through generations of gang life in New Zealand.

Read about the work of the Gang Intelligence Centre.

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