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National proposes banning gang patches in public, new police unit to 'harass gangs'

National is proposing to ban gang patches in public places, refuse parole to murderers who will not give the location of a body and revoke parole for people who associate with gangs. 

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“We are serious,” National leader Simon Bridges said. Source: 1 NEWS

The party released its law and order discussion document today, which also included the proposal of a new police unit to "harass and interfere with gang activity", said leader Simon Bridges.

Mr Bridges said the proposals would put "victims at the heart of the justice system".

Gangs

"Gangs do nothing but peddle misery and create victims. We don’t want them in our society," Mr Bridges said. "We need a change in the way we deal with gangs, the violence and misery they create, and the illegal black markets they run. We need to harass gangs and disrupt them in their day-to-day activities."

National used New South Wales' Strike Force Raptor as an example of a new police unit focused on gangs - targeting any gang activity from raiding gang pads to unconsented building work. 

"A unit like Strike Force Raptor would interrupt gang activity," police spokesperson Brett Hudson said. "If someone was punched outside a nightclub by a gang member, the unit would take over the case. If gang members didn't pay their traffic fines, it would follow up to ensure their driver licenses were taken away."

It also proposed creating new, tougher sentences for violent gang crime and the ordering of it, as well as making gang members prove their income source is from "legitimate sources". 

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Simon Bridges outlined some of his party's ideas on TVNZ1's Q+A. Source: Q+A

Patches

National’s justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell said banning gang patches and insignia in public would "take back control from the gangs". 

"Gang patches and insignia are intimidating," he said.

"We believe New Zealanders should be able to go about their lives without fear and intimidation. Gangs have no regard for the rest of society. They thrive on fear and intimidation. It’s time we put a stop to that."

Victims Notification Register

National want to switch the inclusion of victims of serious crime on the notification register from an opt-out system, instead of opting in. 

The register lets victims know details such as when offenders are up for parole, when they are let out of prison or when they move house. 

It also proposed to ensure sexual violence cases are dealt with within 12 months.

'No location, no parole'

National is proposing to make parole boards take into account if a prisoner has not revealed the location of a victim's body, when considering release. 

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The Government yesterday announced it is reversing a law allowing some prisoners to vote in elections. Source: 1 NEWS

Working in prisons

"Rehabilitation is important to ensuring we reduce reoffending. National wants to see more use of working prisons, with the presumption inmates are in work, training or education," Mr Bridges said. 

The Government has pushed back on this proposal, with Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis tweeting: "Already happening."

"Ninety-six per cent of all eligible prisoners are engaged in employment, education/training, treatment programmes or constructive activities designed to increase motivation to attend interventions — and over 2,800 offenders have been placed into work under our Government."

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The former National MP, policeman and lawyer talked about a better way of managing the justice system. Source: Breakfast

This morning, former National MP, policeman and prosecutor Chester Borrows spoke out in defiance of his own party, saying New Zealand should be smarter on crime - not tougher.

In New Zealand, 61 per cent of people are re-convicted within two years of prison release and 43 per cent go back to prison.

Mr Borrows said the statistics show that the tough-on-crime approach doesn't work and something needs to be done.