Source: New Zealand Police (District News)
A national operation launched by Police earlier this year aiming to prevent firearms getting in the hands of criminals is seeing great results in Northland, with dozens of unlawful firearms seized.
Operation Tauwhiro was rolled out in February to target the disruption and prevention of firearms-related violence by criminal gangs and organised criminal groups.
In three months, Northland Police have seized 64 firearms and made 42 arrests.
More than $35,000 in cash has also been seized as a result of search warrants.
On May 6th, multiple search warrants were conducted in Waima linked to the Tribesman gang. A search of the address located 13 firearms including rifles, shotguns and a semi-automatic firearm, along with a significant amount of ammunition.
In March, 16 firearms, including a semi-automatic weapon, were located following three search warrants in Whangarei and Kerikeri. Two grenades were also located, however upon further examination were found to be inert. A man was arrested in relation to the unlawful possession of firearms.
Detective Inspector Bridget Doell says Police are committed to preventing firearms getting into the hands of criminals.
“We want everyone to feel safe and our focus is working with communities and our partners to reduce and prevent the impacts of organised crime and gun violence in our communities.”
The results in Northland are not unique. As a result of good work by staff across the country, as of last week 522 firearms have been seized and 476 arrests have been made nationally.
A strong focus for Operation Tauwhiro is community engagement and prevention as Police aim to manage the effects of organised crime on whanau and communities.
One organisation that Northland Police have been working in partnership with is Te Mana o Ngapuhi Kowhaorau, a charitable trust which supports young people appearing in court.
Police also urge lawful firearms holders to ensure their firearms are safely and securely stored to prevent getting in the hands of organised crime groups.
“We know that these groups target firearms and it is important that gun owners ensure they have appropriate measures in place to prevent being an easy target of gun thefts, such as securing any firearms in a locked and hidden safe.
“We want to keep New Zealand safe and in Northland we urge everyone in our community to report any information relating to whanau and friends that may need Police or other agency assistance,” says Detective Inspector Doell.
Further information around firearms licencing and firearms safety can be found by visiting https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/firearms-and-safety
Nick Baker/NZ Police