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POLICE ARREST OVER 550 PERSONS IN CONNECTION WITH BIKIE CRIMES

In the words of a senior officer, the best weapon NSW police have in the fight against crime is “in-your-face policing”.

This, said south-west metropolitan region commander Frank Mennilli, led to almost 1000 charges being laid over the weekend as police state-wide went out to “crack down on crime”.

Under the guise of Operation Spartan, established in January following a spike in gun crime and increased gang-related activity, police hit the streets in big numbers – about 3000 officers from across the NSW Police Force tasked with flexing some law-enforcement muscle.

Crackdown ... a policeman guards two suspects.A policeman guards two suspects.

But the action, it seems, was primarily designed to round up those already known to be likely mischief-makers, targeting “people with outstanding arrest warrants” and carrying out “bail compliance checks”.

Mr Mennilli explained Operation Spartan officers carried out 1871 inspections of businesses such as clubs, hotels and tattoo parlours, as well as 993 visits to individuals with links to gangs.

“In addition, we conducted 1783 person searches and 419 vehicle searches … we seized 14 firearms, 17 knives, quantities of illegal and prescription drugs and recorded 1401 intelligence reports,” he said.

"In-your-face policing" ... Operation Spartan.“In-your-face policing” … Operation Spartan.

Mr Mennilli said the operation was a huge success, saying that it was not just about arrests but about intelligence gathering too.

“Every new piece of information we collect helps us to better understand these criminals, their gangs and their methodology, which is the key to dismantling and disrupting criminal activity,” he said.

“We will not rest until we have all illegal firearms and weapons off our streets and all the people involved in these crimes are found, locked up and put before a court.”

As a result, 555 offenders were arrested with 908 charges laid.

In addition, more than 23,000 random breath tests were conducted with 107 people charged with drink-driving.

NSW Police periodically conduct such blitzes, the latest coinciding with an increased focus on gun-related crime following months of tit-for-tat shootings.

Last week, raids on properties connected to known members of outlaw motorcycle gangs prompted claims of a PR exercise, which were rejected by Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon.

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