Police Association president Chris Cahill: Time to put pressure back on the gangs

The president of the Police Association says more pressure needs to be put on gangs with threatening behaviour becoming more common.  

It comes after a disturbing video emerged of a group of patched gang members punching and kicking a person on the ground in Coromandel at the weekend.  

Locals spoken to said while they condemned the violence, they believed it was isolated.  

"That was a bad incident, straight out thuggery... people are concerned but it was an isolated incident," Thames-Coromandel District councillor John Morrissey told AM on Thursday. "It's not the norm for Coromandel.  

"There was no spike in thefts or any other disorder so I think we can just put it down to this one incident with this particular group."   

Nonetheless, Police Association president Chris Cahill said something needed to be done to stop the gangs' "pack mentality". 

"You're seeing this across New Zealand now - there needs to be some pressure go back on those gangs."  

Cahill told AM there needed to be immediate consequences for such behaviour as seen in Coromandel.  

"I don't know when the local police knew about that and maybe they didn't know in time but, if they did, you needed to get a group of 10 or 12 cops up from Hamilton," Cahill said.  

"If they knew about that video, there's enough to arrest those people on suspicion of assault, seize their patches as evidence of identification... put some pressure on these people so there's actually immediate consequences." 

Chris Cahill.
Chris Cahill. Photo credit: Supplied/AM

Cahill said it could be a matter of reprioritising police resources.  

"Where are the staff and do we need more staff on the frontline and take away some of these backroom jobs that are doing some really good work but, at the moment, they aren't the priority the public want - they want visible policing. They want these gang members, when they're out behaving like that, to actually feel consequences immediately."  

In a statement, Eastern District Area Commander Insp Mike Henwood said there was "no tolerance" for the offending seen in Coromandel at the weekend and officers worked "hard to hold offenders to account where possible".  

"Police were aware [of] a group of approximately 12 gang members and associates travelling through the Coromandel Peninsula over the weekend of September 16 and 17," the statement said. "Police responded to one formal report of disorder where a group of people were fighting, involving gang members on Tiki Rd, Coromandel township around 12:30pm Sunday, September 17.  

"Three people were later taken to Thames hospital, with various injuries, after initially declining treatment.  

"Police have spoken with those involved and there has been no complaint forthcoming at this point. Further enquiries are being made to establish what occurred."