Australia to set up task force to take on organized crime
AFPSYDNEY--Australia will set up an anti-gang task force based on a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation model to combat “the gangs and guns on our streets,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Sunday.
March 4, 2013, 12:26 am TWN
Gillard said the AU$64 million (US$65.3 million) task force will be made up of 70 police from national and state forces and include officers from the Australian Crime Commission, Customs and the tax department.
“These are new measures to try and make sure we are combating the gangs and guns on our streets,” Gillard told reporters in Sydney.
The prime minister announced the plan ahead of her five-day stay in western Sydney, scene of a recent spate of shootings.
Gillard denied the task force was a ploy to win back voters in Sydney's western suburbs, formerly a stronghold of her Australian Labor Party but now under threat of swinging to the opposition before Sept. 14 elections.
“This is about a national plan and bringing new national resources to make a difference,” she said.
The prime minister said gun crime had dropped in recent years, but there had been an increase in shootings in public places, with these rising from 73 in 2010 to some 130 in 2012 in the most populous state of New South Wales.
The new task force will directly investigate gang members and provide state and federal law enforcement agencies with intelligence on gangs across Australian states and overseas, she said.
It will also work with international law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and Interpol.