Police crackdown on guns held by organised crime groups and gangs

Police have just announced their expected nationwide crackdown on guns held by organised crime groups and gangs.

Operation Tauwhiro, a long-term and nationally co-ordinated operation, will focus on harm prevention and enforcement.

It is the first operation aligned to the new Organised Crime Strategy, which aims to address organised crime, its social drivers and the harm it causes.

In a statement, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said groups that commit violence involving firearms could expect to be at the centre of significant attention from law enforcement.

"Violent offending, particularly involving firearms, poses significant risk and causes fear and long term harm in our communities," Coster said.

"A key focus of the operation will be investigating and disrupting the illegal supply of firearms to gangs and organised crime groups, which is enabling firearms violence."

This would include illegal manufacturing, modification, and supply of firearms to gangs and organised crime groups, Coster said.

"The operation will hold these people to account while also identifying where we can prevent further harm and victimisation."

Each district would have their own tailored initiative and work with iwi and partner agencies to identify risk factors and "implement appropriate interventions".

"This may include working with iwi, community NGOs, probation and parole officers, and other community groups to offer services and support that can help address the underlying causes of violence and build greater community resilience," Coster said.

Police said they welcomed information from anyone who had concerns about organised crime, illicit drugs or illegal firearms in their community.

Meanwhile, the Act Party has been accusing the government of failing to keep New Zealanders safe, citing the number of gang members with gun licences increasing under its watch.

During Question Time yesterday, ACT firearms reform spokesperson Nicole McKee revealed that the number of people identified on the National Gang List who hold a firearms licence has increased from 11 to 12 between August and February.