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Gang arrests in Wairoa

POLICE have made 15 gang-related arrests in Wairoa in the past six weeks as they work to quell recent gang conflicts in the town and surrounding area.

Wairoa staff, supported by officers from Gisborne, Napier and Hastings have had a concentrated focus on the issue that has plagued the town.

The increased focus has seen both Mongrel Mob and Black Power gang members taken into custody.

“Five men were charged with offences in relation to recent incidents including violence, firearms and drugs charges,” said acting Eastern District crime manager Detective Inspector Brent Greville.

“A further 10 were arrested on warrants to arrest.

“Twelve search warrants have been executed as part of this ongoing operation targeting organised crime, including one in Napier where three pistols and a set of ballistic armour were seized.”

Det Insp Greville said police wanted to send a clear message that such criminal activity would not be tolerated.

“It causes immeasurable harm in our communities — harm that we are committed to reducing.

“Eastern Police will continue to target gangs and anyone else who involve themselves in organised crime and the illegal possession of firearms,” he said.

“Along with directly focusing on this type of offending we will continue to have dialogue with gang and community leaders in an ongoing effort to prevent future violence.”

Det Insp Greville said the focus that police have taken on the gang issues in Wairoa was in line with the Police Commissioner's announcement of the nationally co-ordinated operation, Operation Tauwhiro.

“That operation is focused on preventing harm and enforcement in our communities.”

Tairawhiti area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said police throughout Tairawhiti will continue to target gangs and anyone else who involves themselves in organised crime and the illegal possession of firearms.

“Operation Tauwhiro will see this work continue and increase.

“The operation aims to target and disrupt violent offenders, prevent crime and victimisation, and engage with our communities,” Insp Aberahama said.

“All front-line staff in Eastern District will contribute towards the operation as part of their day-to-day duties.

“Our specialist work groups will also have a significant contribution, including our intelligence and investigations staff, and our prevention and community engagement teams.”