Mark Mitchell describes burglary, reckless driving, and bail breaches as “minor infringements”

Mark Mitchell has demonstrated himself entirely unfit to be Minister of Police today by characterising serious offences laid as part of Operation Cobalt as “minor infringements”, Police Minister Ginny Andersen says.

In a press release yesterday, Mitchell stated, “more than half of the charges under Operation Cobalt are for dishonesty, traffic offences, or administration offences” and proceeded to characterise these as “minor infringements”, said Andersen.

“The problem is that these categories he describes as “minor infringements” include burglary, theft, fraud, breaches of bail, reckless driving, driving while disqualified, careless driving, drink driving and offences under the Search and Surveillance Act, Criminal Investigation Act, Child Protection Act, Sentencing Act and Parole Act.

“I want Mark to step up and explain to the Police frontline why he has a problem with them arresting gang members for burglary or theft. I want him to explain why he wants gang members committing breaches of bail to face no consequences. I also want him to explain why he thinks reckless driving that endangers lives is “minor.”

“It’s frankly appalling for a former cop to go after hardworking police officers doing their jobs and holding gang members to account for the crimes they commit.”

The Government has ensured Police have the rules and the tools necessary to crack down on gangs and organised crime. This includes 1,800 additional Police, nearly 700 staff working on organised crime, significant financial investments to target organised crime, and the introduction of legislation supported by Police to crack down on gangs during times of gang conflict and to go after their profits.

As at 3 August Police have entered 47,017 charges under Operation Cobalt. These are criminal charges, which are separate from Infringement Offence Notices, of which 60,101 have been issued by Police under Operation Cobalt. Police have also seized 479 illegally held firearms amid the operation.

Mitchell offered to resign on Monday if he couldn’t get crime under control. Given he’s demonstrated a lack of desire to charge gang members committing burglary, theft, and fraud, he should save everyone the time and resign today.