New Measures Target GangsJustice
Legislation bringing in tough new measures to curb the power and activities of gangs had its third reading in Parliament this morning.
The new powers and offences are contained in seven Bills which come into effect progressively from January 1 to May 1 next year.
Mr Graham said the 'gang legislation' was the result of widespread consultation and reflected concerns in the community about the power and influence of gangs.
'These new measures go to the very heart of gang activity,' he said.
'They start with the recruitment of prospects and introduce new offences such as participation in a criminal gang intending to further its criminal activities.
'Police powers are extended to allow them to listen to private conversations where serious violence or major drug dealing is involved and to stop and search vehicles.
'Provisions for removing gang fortifications are strengthened.
'Another clause authorises the prosecution of stalkers.'
Mr Graham said gangs are becoming increasingly sophisticated and organised and the public is entitled to protection from them.
'The police need the powers to deal with the criminal activities of gangs and others.
'I am confident that this legislation will be a major help to them,' he said.