Andrew Dickens: If cracking down on gangs was easy, it would have been done decades ago

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Manage episode 292208213 series 2882353
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So, the latest step has been taken in the decades long battle against the gangs, organised crime and hardened criminals.
The government has introduced a thing called Firearm Prohibition Orders.
It bans high-risk convicted Kiwis from owning firearms and enabling the seizure of assets obtained through crime.
It’s very similar to the idea floated a few weeks ago by National’s Simeon Brown, but it goes further than Simeon’s proposal in that it includes all criminals and not just gang members. That hasn’t stopped Simon Bridges from saying Labour has just copied them.
But make no mistake; this is only one small step in the battle against guns in gangland.
Criminals convicted of crimes that deserve imprisonment are already barred from having gun licences, therefore prohibited from firearms; this does a teensy bit more.
At least now police will have more of a database of who’s in gangs and who isn’t, and hopefully have more success in monitoring them.
But the reality is that this will do little, but little is better than nothing.
It was the same with the gun buy back, critics of the gun buyback say the bad guys still have the guns so what was the point.
Well, the point was if you’ve got the bad guns then we now know you’re a bad guy before you shoot anybody.
But here is the problem with law enforcement.
To enforce it, first someone has to break the law, to criminalise someone before they break a crime is the first step towards a police state.
Fine, for known bad guys like gang members, not so fine if the state decide to crack down on you and me for no reason at all.
I’ve been in this job long enough to have heard so many empty words on gang crackdowns from politicians looking for votes rather than law and order.
From John Banks, through Michael Laws, Simon Bridges and now Simeon Brown and Poto Williams and a legion of talkback callers.
Just get tough on them, they say, take away their patches, take away their guns.
Slap them with an FPO before they've even done a thing; so simple to say, so difficult to do.
Because if it was all so simple, someone would have done it decades ago.

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