Milestone reached in crack down on gangs


Police has reached a major milestone filing over 28,000 charges related to Operation Cobalt.

“I’m extremely proud of the fantastic work that our Police has been doing to crack down on gangs, and keep our communities safe. The numbers speak for themselves – with over 28,000 charges, Police are getting gang members who offend off the streets, seizing their weapons, and keeping New Zealanders safe,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

Under Operation Cobalt, as of 2 March 2023, Police have:

  • Seized 339 firearms
  • Conducted 945 searches under warrant, and 647 warrantless searches.
  • Entered 28,273 charges across a number of crime types.

Introduced in June last year, the highly successful Operation Cobalt is focussed on disrupting unlawful gang behaviour. It has had great success addressing serious offending and holding people who commit serious crimes to account.

“It’s great to see that enforcement action by Police continues to help keep New Zealanders safe.

Police is in a strong position to respond to the issues that matter to our community as well as responding to natural disasters and emergencies like the recent floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The Government has been giving Police the tools to crack down on gangs since we came into office, including the resources to recruit the 1,800 additional Police officers we promised when I was last Police Minister.

Police is on track to deliver on this target and since June 2017 have added 1,687 new officers to the front line

“The Government is delivering on our commitment to maintain safety in our communities. Our increased investment in Police means that there are now over 1,600 additional Police officers across the country under this Government. This growth in Police numbers means they are able to increase the number of frontline staff focussed on organised crime. The success of Operation Cobalt shows that our investment in Police is delivering results.

A high priority of cracking down on gangs and organised crime is why we are progressing the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill. The Government is progressing legislation that creates new offences and enforcement powers to give Police even more tools to combat gangs.

“The Government also allocated $562 million for law and order in Budget 2022 for work targeting and removing unlawful firearms off the streets, progressing firearm prohibition orders, and investment in more Police with hundreds more officers focused on serious and organised crime.

“We are committed to ensuring Police have the resources to hold those who commit serious and violent offences to account.”