Catch us live on BlogTalkRadio every

Tuesday & Thursday at 6pm P.S.T.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Zealand - Ban gang patches in our town

Kristin Edge
Time for action:Whangarei police area commander Inspector Paul Dimery has had enough of gangs.

Time for action:Whangarei police area commander
Inspector Paul Dimery has had enough of gangs..
Whangarei's top cop is asking the council to consider banning gang patches in the city.
In a report to the Whangarei District Council, Whangarei police area commander Inspector Paul Dimery said Northland was seen as a "cash cow" by gangs, particularly around the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.
He said it was "time to be brave and put a mark in the sand".
He wants the council to give consideration to a bylaw banning gang patches.
The report is to be discussed at a district council meeting tomorrow.
"I believe that the council can send out a clear message that these criminal enterprises are a scourge on our community; they are unwelcome and they contribute nothing to a healthy society," Mr Dimery's report says.
He goes on to say gangs are criminals banding together to carry out criminal offending.
Over the past month, members of the Australian gang the Rebel Motorcycle Club have been "patching over" members of the Tribesmen gang.
A police operation saw six Northland men - with links to the Rebels - arrested in relation to drugs and firearms offences.
Mr Dimery said the introduction of the Rebels had created some tension between ownership of the "patches" and the Rebels were interested in setting up business in Whangarei.
"The council can send out a clear message to these groups by ensuring legal compliance with any premises they own," his report says.
That would include any illegal fortification of any "pads" or modifications to any premises bought for a gang pad.
Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth said the council would decide what action if any would be taken.
"A bulk of Whangarei citizens are not gang-friendly and so any move to outlaw them will probably be welcomed by most people," Mr Cutforth said.
However, Denis O'Reilly, the Hawke's Bay-based Black Power spokesman and life member, questioned whether banning gang patches was actually effective.
He said there was no evidence the banning of patches had seen a drop in the number of gang members or a decrease in crime.
The Hells Angels had challenged the Wanganui bylaw in the Supreme Court saying it breached human rights, Mr O'Reilly said.
"Let's see what the Supreme Court comes out with in the Wanganui case.
"It'll be interesting.
"Why put the citizens and ratepayers of Whangareithrough legal costs and all that stuff?"
Mr O'Reilly said there were plenty of laws that gave police the power to arrest any gang members gathering and acting in an intimidating way.
"I don't condone inexcusable behaviour.
"It's more about behaviour rather than what they wear."