The NSW Police Force has announced a new taskforce to coordinate the investigations and operations to target those involved in recent fatal shootings and associated organised criminal activities.
Taskforce Erebus is being led by State Crime Command (SCC) under the National Organised Crime Response Plan to oversee the strategic targeting of organised criminal networks, particularly those known to be in conflict.
In addition to examining the circumstances and links between recent fatal shootings, the taskforce brings together dozens of investigations into other acts of violence, the importation and supply of prohibited drugs, illicit firearm supply, coordinated theft of vehicles and various other criminal activities.
State Crime Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Fitzgerald, said the taskforce draws on the investigative expertise of various squads, as well as the specialist and technical skills from across the organisation.
“Taskforce Erebus builds on the information and leads already gathered by investigators and ensures they have the resources to keep targeting and putting pressure on these criminal groups on all fronts,” Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said.
“It will involve coordinating the inquiries of detectives and intelligence analysts with expertise across various disciplines including homicide, organised crime, financial and cybercrimes, and criminal groups, networks and their associates.
“They will be joined by South West Metropolitan Region, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Police Transport and Public Safety Command, the Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command, Digital Technology and Innovation, and as required, the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command.
“In addition to the contribution of the NSW Police officers in the taskforce, there will be ongoing assistance and support from our partner agencies, including the NSW Crime Commission, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Federal Police.”
Since October 2021, the collaborative efforts of SCC and South West Metropolitan Region has led to the arrest of more than 260 people and more than 840 charges laid. They remain before the courts.
Further, their inquiries and investigations has seen the seizure of almost 70 firearms and 3000 rounds of ammunition, $2.5 million cash, and prohibited drugs with a combined estimated potential street value in excess of $4 million.
Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said the results reflect the ongoing commitment of the NSW Police Force to target the criminality and associated activities of those involved in organised criminal networks.
“These public acts of violence are dangerous and while they are targeted – regardless of who the victim is – it will not be tolerated. It only takes one stray bullet to injure or kill an innocent person,” Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said.
“As such, police will not back down; we will continue to target anyone who shows a blatant disregard for community safety.”
SCC Director of Crime Operations, Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett, said the investigative focus continues to be on the links between organised criminal networks, as well as those who associate with – and between – the groups.
“We know the victims in these crimes associated in similar circles and this taskforce allows for centralised examination of how those connections relate to the shootings, and possible motivations,” Det Ch Supt Bennett said.
“It also allows for expert coordination of resources and high-pressure targeting of the criminality at the centre of the shootings.
“Police have been in the face of OCN members and associates for some time, and we have a full arsenal of capabilities at our disposal to make their lives more uncomfortable.
“We’ve already conducted numerous successful operations but due to their covert nature, I can only assure the public that we aren’t resting on our laurels.
“The safety and wellbeing of our law-abiding community remains our number one priority, and the most experienced officers in the Force are working together to eliminate the root cause of these violent acts.”
Det Ch Supt Bennett added that the community has a role to play in helping bring a swift police response.
“When it comes to organised crime, investigators are up against a wall of silence – those connected to the victims, whether by blood, marriage or as an associate – are often unwilling to assist police, due to either misguided loyalties or fear of retribution,” Det Ch Supt Bennett said.
“In order to bring these criminals to justice, we need evidence to put them before the court, and that’s where the community can help.
“If you know something, say something. A call to Crime Stoppers will only take a minute and the information you provide, which will be treated in strict confidence, can make a difference.”
Investigations under Taskforce Erebus are underway, which includes proactive, high-visibility operational activity conducted by the Raptor Squad yesterday (Sunday 15 May 2022).
Anyone with information that may assist Taskforce Erebus is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.