In hundreds of raids carried out in Victoria to crack down on youth street gangs, the police have used coronavirus lockdown to apprehend more than 250 people and seize weapons and swords.
Over the last month, in suburbs such as Dandenong and Pakenham in the southeast and Deer Park and Caroline Springs in the west, officers served 88 search warrants.
Overall, 251 arrests were made on charges ranging from armed robbery, aggravated assault, life-threatening conduct and auto theft to weapons and drug offences, with 70 people held in custody.
Tomahawks, knives, tasers and swords were among the other arms confiscated in the raids.
The raids, conducted as part of Operation Alliance, began on 13 September with the intention of stopping, disrupting and destroying street gangs of young people.
Across Greater Melbourne and beyond, gangs have been blamed for robberies, aggravated burglaries, severe assaults, auto thefts, and home invasions.
Males aged between their mid-teens and mid-twenties were the vast majority of people arrested.
Regional Operations Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said that Operation Alliance will continue its crackdown.
“Operation Alliance uses an integrated and co-ordinated approach to tackling youth gangs in every region, division and police service area across the state,” he said.
“We anticipated Operation Alliance would be successful and that has proved to be the case early on, with multiple arrests and seizures of dangerous items, such as firearms and other weapons, in the operation’s first month.”
“We are using and sharing real-time intelligence to not only remain one step ahead of offenders to prevent further crimes from occurring, but to also identify and target the key influencers within these groups,” he said.
“We make no apologies for targeting the individuals who commit the most serious and violent crimes in our community, whether that’s through arrests, bail compliance checks, proactive patrols in known hot spots, or issuing FPOs.”