Victorian Police from North West Metro Region and Crime Command have arrested more than 30 young people as part of an ongoing joint operation targeting criminal activity in the Collingwood area.
The operation focused on a number of street and youth gangs known to have a significant presence in the City of Yarra, as well as persons of interest linked to offending such as armed robberies, aggravated burglaries, assaults, drugs, and weapons offences.
Superintendent Darren Franks, who is Melbourne’s Divisional Commander in charge of Melbourne and Yarra, said local police were working tirelessly to hold offenders to account, and to put a stop to the harm their offending inflicts on the broader community.
“This offending has led to serious high-harm offences being committed, which significantly impacts victims and the broader community,” said Supt Franks.
“Local police will continue to work around the clock alongside the Gang Crime Squad to investigate these crimes and hold offenders to account.
“We have continued to mature our approach to offender management, and we make no apologies for this – local police will continue to proactively manage bail compliance of the high risk persons of interest.
“Our message to those committing these offences is clear, police will find you, we will hold you to account and we will ensure you do not continue to inflict harm on the community.”
The operation was jointly led by Melbourne Embona Task Force and the Gang Crime Squad and involved a number of other police units. Officers conducted a range of covert and intelligence gathering activities, with the enforcement phase of the operation commencing last month.
This included a day of action on 31 August, with warrants executed at addresses in Fitzroy, Cobblebank, Reservoir, Tarneit, Altona North, Footscray West, Kurunjang, North Melbourne, Collingwood, Fitzroy North and Point Cook.
Ten people were arrested on the day as a result, all were males aged between 17 and 20 years of age.
They were charged with a range of offences including armed robbery, handle stolen goods, possess proceeds of crime, theft, unlawful assault, obtain property by deception, criminal damage, intentionally cause injury, affray, false imprisonment and bail offences.
Five of the males were remanded in custody as a result.
Since July, police have arrested 32 people as part of the operation, with 21 of those people charged – 11 were remanded in custody.
A further 12 people will be charged on summons, including one person who was arrested twice during the operation.
Police have also issued a Firearm Prohibition Order and have engaged with federal agencies in relation to a visa cancellation.
Twenty-six penalty notices related to breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directions were also issued.
This week, police embarked on high visibility patrols of the area which included local uniform police as well as members of the Bike Patrol and Mounted Branch.
Detective Superintendent Peter Brigham from the Crime Command State Anti Gangs Division said police will continue to actively target this type of offending.
“We know these gangs and the associated offenders cause immense harm in our communities and the impact of their offending is felt by victims for a long time,” he said.
“The Gang Crime Squad works closely with the regions to provide agile investigative support and intelligence to local police when it comes to high harm high impact offences – often we find those involved will have committed crimes across different areas of Melbourne, so our role is to help provide broader knowledge of these groups.
“We want these offenders to understand that police, drawn from a number of areas, will continue to have a high focus on disrupting street gangs, and preventing their criminal offending.
“If you are willing to engage in this type of serious and organised crime then you absolutely should expect to be held to account for your actions.”
Anyone with information about offences or gang activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au