Prohibition on display of gang patches

The Australian organised crime group Comanchero Motorcycle Club has been added to the list of gangs whose insignia or patches are prohibited from being worn or displayed in government buildings.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the ban on displaying the Comanchero Motorycycle Club (CMC) patches follows Police advice that its members share a common identifying insignia and actively promote, encourage or engage in criminal activity.

“The CMC is well established in Australia and has recently established a chapter in New Zealand as a result of patched and prospect members of the gang being deported from across the Tasman,” says Mr Nash.

“Its members are an organised crime group with global reach and networks. They are involved in the manufacture and supply of illicit drugs and use money laundering and commercial businesses to conceal the proceeds of crime.

“We need to make all efforts to disrupt the activities of this gang and others, and to reduce the harm they cause in our communities. The law allows us to deny gang members or associates the ability to display their insignia in any government premises. This includes court buildings and WINZ offices, libraries, schools, public hospitals and even public swimming pools.

“Gang insignia is intended to intimidate the public and other gangs. It is designed to claim ownership of a physical space and to encourage the recruitment of gang prospects. We will not allow the CMC to advertise its presence in this way.

“Restricting the display of gang patches, by itself, will not prevent the harm caused by organised crime groups. However when combined with other initiatives, such as enforcement and prevention, it will contribute to a safer community,” Mr Nash says.

The prohibition comes into force on 1 June 2018. It takes the total number of gangs with prohibited insignia to 35.

Note for editors: the Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Act has been in force since August 2013. It applies to central and local government premises and schools.