Joint press release from the Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice and the Hon Liza Harvey MP, Western Australia Minister for Police, Tourism, Road Safety and Women’s Interests
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Western Australia Police Minister Liza Harvey today marked the first day of operation for the WA National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) Strike Team.
In April Mr Keenan joined with the Prime Minister to announce the Coalition Government would establish the WA Strike Team, with an operational start date of 1 July, at a cost of $10.2m funded as part of the 2014/15 Budget.
“Organised crime gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs represent an ongoing criminal threat to our country. They are violent predators who profit from the misery of drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, extortion, prostitution and firearms trafficking,” Mr Keenan said.
“The Perth-based Strike Team includes officers from the Australian Federal Police and Australian Tax Office working within the Western Australia Police. The Coalition Government’s contribution also includes funding to support the establishment and operation of a dedicated Western Australia Police surveillance team.
“This is the fourth Strike Team established nationally and follows on from teams launched in Queensland and New South Wales in October 2013, and Victoria in November 2013.
“The Strike Team will use all of the resources at the disposal of the Commonwealth Government to tackle and destroy organised criminal gangs such as outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Keenan said.
Mrs Harvey said the new strike team would strengthen law enforcement’s efforts in WA to protect communities from outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“I welcome the Federal Governments funding commitment to tackle the issues around organised crime in Western Australia.”
To date the NAGS Strike Teams in other jurisdictions have been successful and have assisted with 94 state police operations, resulting in the arrest of more than 200 offenders, including 525 charges laid. These operations have included the seizure of 218 firearms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics, precursor chemicals, more than $2 million in cash and proceeds of crime, and more than 50 motor vehicles.
The NAGS has conducted 20 AFP investigations, including Commonwealth offences and offshore matters, and received in excess of 390 requests for assistance from state jurisdictions. These include firearms referrals, requests for information and coordination of investigations, technical capabilities, offshore activities and operational support.