Laws to outlaw the outlaws on agenda, says NSW premier

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson.

Tougher laws and more police resources are needed to stop Sydney's streets becoming "shooting galleries", NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson says.

He called on Premier Barry O'Farrell to outlaw criminal gangs after a man was shot dead in the city's west on Friday night.

Mr Robertson said the shooting was the 220th since Mr O'Farrell became premier (March 28, 2011) and it was time to pass legislation outlawing gangs. "We've got to stop our streets looking more like shooting galleries than suburban streets." The premier had laws in place for 12 months but had failed to act to outlaw gangs, Mr Robertson said. He also called for greater police resources "to be thrown at this problem".

But the NSW Premier rejected the opposition's calls, saying extra powers and 250 additional officers had been given to police at the request of the commissioner.

"I'll continue to support the police who've done a significant job," Mr O'Farrell said yesterday.

"One thousand arrests, extra police, additional powers, all to try and stop this targeted villain-on-villain shooting."

Mr O'Farrell also called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to stop cutting staff and funds from the Customs department. He said less than 10 per cent of air and sea cargo was inspected by Customs, making it easy for guns to make their way on to Sydney streets. "It's no coincidence that last year NSW Police intercepted 220 Glock pistols being posted to this state."

Mr O'Farrell said laws for the outlawing of gangs could now be applied - after the failure of a High Court challenge to them in Queensland - and would be discussed at the upcoming Council of Australian Governments meeting in April.

- AAP

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