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Anti-Gang Law : Govt To Ban Gang Insignia In Public Places

The coalition Government wants gang patches banned in public places. Photo: RNZ/John Edens

Gang patches will be banned in public and police given extra powers to stop gang members congregating under new legislation announced by the coalition government, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell said on February 25.

The crackdown was first signalled in September as part as National's 100-day plan.

Goldsmith and Mitchell said gangs had recruited more than 3,000 members over the past five years - a 51 per cent increase.

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There had also been a "significant escalation" in gang-related violence during the same time period, Goldsmith said.

"We need to take action and reduce gangs' ability to engage in criminal behaviour and prevent them from further endangering and intimidating Kiwis."

The government would introduce legislation to ban all gang insignia in public places.

Police would be given the power to issue dispersal notices, requiring gang members to immediately leave an area. They would then not be allowed to see each other for seven days.

Courts would be able to issue non-consorting orders, "which will stop specified gang offenders from associating or communicating with one another for up to three years", Goldsmith said.

"The law will also be changed to give greater weight to gang membership as an aggravating factor at sentencing, enabling courts to impose more severe punishments."

- More to come

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