Tuesday, February 27, 2024

John MacDonald: We should be focussing on the how not the why on gang crackdown

Did you see Police Minister Mark Mitchell on TV last night?

He was asked how-on-earth the Police are going to manage to implement these tough new anti-gang measures and he did what politicians do all the time, and started going-on about why they’re doing it.

We know people have had a gutsful of gangs - I’ve had a gutsful too - so the Government doesn’t need to keep telling us that. That’s the “why” bit.

The “how” bit is how the Police are going to enforce this ban on gang patches and insignia in all public places, including the internet. How they’re going to stop gang members congregating in public. How the courts are going to take gang membership into account when sentencing, when you’ve got the Bill of Rights hanging over everything.

And the reason Mark Mitchell didn’t answer the “how” question directly is because he knows as much of the rest of us, that it’s just pie in the sky nonsense.

And that’s not just me saying that. Chris Cahill from the Police Association was a bit more diplomatic when he was on Newstalk ZB today.

He said, of course most cops want to see something done about gangs. Of course they want to make gang members more uncomfortable - to feel less welcome.

But he’s not convinced that what the Government’s going to bring-in will be workable or do-able. And he’s the person we should be listening to.

He thinks freedom of expression could be a real sticking point.

Just like it’s your right to wear a Coldplay t-shirt - it’s every gang member’s right to wear a patch. It’s your right to have a little tear tattooed under one of your eyes. Someone from the Mongrel Mob has the right to have the bulldog tattooed on their cheek. Just like it’s my right to get the word “dreaming” tattooed across my forehead.

Because that's what the Government’s doing if it thinks this is going to be enforceable.

For me, the bigger issue when it comes to gangs, is what they do behind the scenes. The drugs they peddle. The way they kill people who owe them drug money.

For me, what it comes down to is this: How can Mark Mitchell spend the last few years telling us police are nearly outnumbered by gangs, and then suddenly expect us to believe him when he says the cops can make this crackdown happen?

John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. This article was first published HERE


Robert Arthur said...

A lot of agonising over this. There are a myriad aspects of law nowadays not rigidly enforced but a disincentive to crime nonetheless, although not as in the past. The posibility of losing an elaborate jacket must have a disruptive effect and cause footloose youth to think twice. (The prospect of losing a $20,000 motorcylce must be similarly daunting). I am puzzled as to what youth did to while away the time decades ago. Myself and colleagues all had odd jobs and serious hobbies. Many played sport. I have no idea what the then very few maori did but it was sufficiently attractive to regularly keep them from school.

Anonymous said...

Scene 1: Medieval village. Dirty, hungry outcasts approaching threateningly. Do the villagers just let them in to wander around and cause havoc? Hell no they stop them, in so far as they can, to protect family and property.
Scene 2: Modern day NZ. Dirty, hungry outcasts approaching threateningly. Do we just let them wander around and cause havoc? Hell no, we stop them, in so far as we can, to protect family and property.
Hey, John, this is not radical stuff. It's normal mate. In your spiel above you offer no answer, only gratuitous appeasement.
Do you really want us to stand back and watch as the Mongrels take over wherever they like? Including Christchurch hospital? Nothing is sacred to the Mongrels and you want to kowtow to them?
Mongrels are outcasts because that is what they choose to be. They are anti-social and even harmful to their own families who live in fear of them. We owe it to ourselves to absolutely snuff out gangs. Of course the police can do it, we need them to do it. We should have done this a long time ago. One of my work colleagues in the 1970's said there should be "open season" on gang patches, then they would disappear. We have waited far too long for this and we don't need any more Woossies speaking up for gangs.

Anonymous said...

Like the police van at the bottom of the cliff, the focus should not be so much on antagonising current gang members but on preventing young people from joining the gangs in the first place. Patch visible or not it is not easy to get someone to leave a gang once they are involved. Although not 'easy' in many circumstances it is still a more realistic goal to prevent them from joining to begin with. How do we do that? Well I don't know exactly but the powers that be could put some effort into pursuing that instead of spending time on banning the patches. Remember they can still commit crimes without a patch on...

Basil Walker said...

The Coalition Government is not first to ban gang patches in public The Southland hospital has notices everywhere that gang atches are not allowed . Maybe other hospitals as well .
Support the government policy if you love all your girls in your familty as gangs treat women with vulgar disrespect.