Police arrest 15 in North Island after 'concentrated focus' on gang conflicts

AMBERLEY, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 10: A police officer stops a car at a checkpoint on April 10, 2020 in Amberley, New Zealand. With New Zealand in lockdown due to COVID-19, police are setting up checkpoints across the country to ensure people on the roads are travelling for essential purposes only. The Easter long weekend is a popular time for New Zealanders to go on holiday, however current Level 4 restrictions in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic requires everyone to remain at the place of residence they were in as of midnight 25 March when New Zealand went into lockdown. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
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Police have made 15 gang-related arrests, including members of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power, following a "concentrated focus" on quelling gang conflicts in the eastern North Island.

Over the past six weeks, police in Wairoa, with the help of staff from Gisborne, Napier, and Hastings, have tried to stamp out violence in the area.

Following the arrests, five men were charged with offences relating to recent incidents including violence, firearms, and drugs, says Detective Inspector Brent Greville, acting Eastern District crime manager. A further 10 were arrested on warrants.

"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," Greville says.

"We want to send a clear message that such criminal activity won't be tolerated."

He says eastern police will continue to target gangs and anyone else who involves themselves in organised crime and the illegal possession of firearms.

"Along with directly focusing on this type of offending, police will continue to have dialogue with gang and community leaders in an ongoing effort to prevent future violence," Greville says.

"This focus is in line with the Police Commissioner's announcement of the nationally coordinated operation, Operation Tauwhiro, which is focused on preventing harm and enforcement in our communities."