Australia

‘Serious concern’: Victoria Police launch new unit to combat rising gun crime

Victoria Police is establishing a dedicated illicit firearms unit (IFU) in a bid to combat rising gun crime across the state. The new unit launched on Monday will be made up of 22 experienced investigators, led by Detective Inspector Mick Daly, as they look to prevent firearms “getting in the wrong hands”.It comes after a…

Victoria Police is establishing a dedicated illicit firearms unit (IFU) in a bid to combat rising gun crime across the state.

The new unit launched on Monday will be made up of 22 experienced investigators, led by Detective Inspector Mick Daly, as they look to prevent firearms “getting in the wrong hands”.

It comes after a rise in gun crime last year that involved nine fatal shootings and 41 non-fatal.

Police also seized more than 770 firearms in 2020.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Bob Hill said last year’s figures were up from 2019.

“This shows that a global pandemic had no impact on the prevalence of firearms in this state,” he said.

“While Australia has some of the strongest firearm controls in the world, illicit firearms are an increasingly desirable commodity and enabler for serious criminal activity here in Victoria.

“I am confident the IFU will enhance Victoria Police’s capability not only to respond to illicit firearms-related crime but to proactively target those responsible.”

The IFU has already been involved in several investigations, resulting in the seizure of more than 80 firearms.

In early November, IFU detectives seized 36 real and imitation firearms, including gel ball blasters, following a warrant in Frankston.

They also located ammunition, other weapons including a conducted energy device, and a quantity of drugs.

A Frankston man was charged with at least eight crimes and will face Melbourne Magistrates Court again in July.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said an extra 12 positions were added to Victoria Police’s firearms investigations team, enabling the unit to expand.

“We’re continually looking at ways we can deter and disrupt the manufacturing, trafficking and use of illegal firearms to keep Victorian communities safe,” she said at Monday’s launch.

“The new and highly trained unit will build on the work of previous specialist teams with invaluable intelligence that will enable us to put a stop to illicit firearms.”

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