February 25, 2021
Gang member wants investment alongside crackdown
A Black Power life member is backing plans for a nationwide crackdown on gun possession by gangs and organised criminals.
Operation Tauwhiro is a national initiative where police districts will work with community groups and iwi to tackle violence and increasing gang numbers.
Denis O'Reilly says new Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is tackling an issue where recent governments have dropped the ball.
He says a lack of social services and community outreach has resulted in more vulnerable young people ending up in gangs.
"We're investing heavily in kura kaupapa Māori and al that sort of stuff but we're not doing anything at that transition point. We used to have detached youth workers. We used to have Group Enterprise Liaison Service. We had a whole lot of people directed into that community development side of things where young peers influenced each other," Mr O'Reilly says.
Rather than joining gangs, young people need to be invested with the spirit that drove the protests at Ihumātao.
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