28 Nov 2021

Police boost presence in Tasman district

11:59 am on 28 November 2021

Westland's mayor is welcoming increased police resources in the region to tackle organised crime.

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Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Police are boosting their presence in the Tasman district, in a bid to curb overt gang activity in the area.

Westland mayor Bruce Smith said in the past year there had been a noticeable increase in patched gang members and anti-social behaviour, which he thought was partly due to more social and emergency housing in the area.

He said displaced people were moved to the coast with an "out of sight out of mind" mentality from authorities.

Detective Inspector Mark Chenery said three more officers from the organised crime unit (OCU) - which targets criminal groups - will be stationed in the region.

He said the three-year goal is to increase the unit's presence in both West Coast and Marlborough, with two detective constables placed in the West Coast OCU last year.

Chenery said Tasman residents have reported seeing more patched gang members and gang paraphernalia.

"The behaviour of these individuals is designed to intimidate, and has not historically been part of our community makeup," Chenery said in a statement.

"We're concerned about the unease this brings members of our community and we are determined to ensure everyone is safe and feels safe."

He said it has been evident in recent operations targeting drug offending which have resulted in drugs and firearms being seized.

Police will continue to take a hard line on organised criminal groups and locals can expect to see further search warrants, arrests and targeting of members of organised criminal groups, he said.

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