Police are putting organised crime in Northland 'on notice' with the establishment of a dedicated Asset Recovery Unit office.
District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said the move was in response to an increasing trend of seizures over recent years under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, targeting the profits of illegal activity in forms including bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, e-currency and jewellery.
The Asset Recovery Unit office in Whangārei would be another tool police could use to further disrupt and dismantle organised crime.
The district recently expanded its Organised Crime Unit to the Mid North, two new Precision Targeting Teams were now operating, and a dedicated Meth Harm Unit was working with other agencies to reduce demand for methamphetamine and around alternative responses for those addicted to it.
"Our response now enables us to not only investigate and prosecute organised crime, but also to prevent the drug harm it creates, and now further disrupt their operations," he said.
Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid, of the Financial Crime Group, said it was well recognised that the vast majority of assets police restrained related to drugs, gangs and organised crime.
In the 2017/18 financial year around $93,000 of assets were restrained by police in Northland, rising to almost $2.5 million last financial year. The current year's figure was already around $1.5m.
"This expansion of a dedicated office means those indulging in the proceeds of crime in Northland should expect to come to increased police attention," Schmid said.
"Targeting the money made by organised crime is key to impacting their operations, and therefore reducing their influence in the community."
Money accrued from forfeited assets was invested back into the communities it was taken from, by means including support for community safety and wellbeing, and drug addiction services.
The public also had an important role to play.
"The more we know about criminal activity, the better placed we are to act," he said.
"We encourage any members of the public who suspect that someone has obtained assets through criminal offending to contact the police or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."