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Operation HAWK 2022 launched to disrupt organised criminal activity across Sydney

The NSW Police Force has launched a high-impact operation targeting members, associates and supporters of organised criminal networks impacting on communities across the state.

Operation Hawk 2022 is a two-day high-visibility policing strategy designed to disrupt and combat organised criminal networks, including outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCG), operating in Sydney.

The intelligence-driven operation, which commenced at 6am today (Thursday 27 January 2022), is a collaboration between State Crime Command and the Central, North West and South West Metropolitan Regions, with a daily deployment of more than 600 officers.

This will include expert assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad, the Dog and Mounted Unit, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Police Transport and Public Safety Command, and the Aviation Command.

Operation Hawk 2022 is multi-faceted with planned activity to resolve various investigations, as well as Firearm Prohibition Order searches, bail and ADVO compliance checks, high-visibility patrols of hot spots and venues of interest, targeted compliance checks at high-risk businesses, and road safety enforcement.

Deputy Commissioner Investigations and Counter Terrorism, David Hudson, said deliberate acts of crime and violence are being countered with deliberate actions from police.

“The success of the NSW Police Force in tackling organised crime has always been akin to our ability to evolve according to the criminal environment, and our evolution for 2022 is like nothing these networks have seen before,” Deputy Commissioner Hudson said.

“Taskings for Operation Hawk 2022 have been developed according to intelligence, identifying more than 300 priority targets, who are members or associates of criminal networks and OMCG, or who aspire to be.

“The essence of Strike Force Hawk has always been to make life very uncomfortable for all criminal identities and those who support and protect them. Operation Hawk is going to build on that.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Paul Toole, said anyone involved in organised criminal activity – even if only by association – should expect a visit during Operation Hawk 2022.

“Police continue to be proactive in their approach to bikies and other gangs – and their results make it clear that it has never been a worse time to be a criminal in NSW,” Mr Toole said.

“There’s nothing more important to me than people feeling safe in their community, and this operation sends a very clear message to crooks: Your time is up.”

State Crime Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, said the operation is the next phase of dismantling networks, which follows successful disruptions to the activities of these criminals.

“In recent weeks, the coordinated efforts of State Crime Command and the Metropolitan Regions has seen the arrest of numerous key identities alleged to have directed, coordinated and facilitated serious crimes,” Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

“We know that this can create a vacuum, so part of this operation will focus on targeting those groups no one has heard of before they have an opportunity to make their names known.

“This is a priority strategy as we know it’s these types of networks who groom and recruit impressionable young people with promises of a life of riches, when the reality is, they are merely fodder.”

Operation Hawk 2022 is part of significant ongoing activity under Strike Force Hawk to disrupt serious and organised crime within the community.

Since October 2021, police have executed over 200 search warrants and FPO searches, arresting more than 80 people and laying in excess of 350 charges. Additionally, more than $1.1 million in cash has been seized, as well as numerous firearms, drugs, and around 30 stolen high-performance motor vehicles suspected of being stored for use in public place shootings and other violent criminal activity.

Significant recent events include:

• The arrest and extradition of a 27-year-old man – with the assistance of Queensland Police’s Taskforce Maxima – for his alleged role in directing three other men – aged 19, 20 and 23 – to commit a public place shooting at a Prospect gym last November (2021). A second man – also aged 27 – has additionally been charged for allegedly coordinating the shooting. As a part of ongoing investigations, police identified that both men also formed part of a group involved in the kidnapping, detaining, and stabbing of a man in Sydney’s west last September (2021). Police will allege in court the kidnapping was the result of a debt that was incurred from the failed acquisition of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination certificates. In total, 10 men have since been charged in relation to the two incidents and remain before the courts.

• The seizure of cash, heroin, methylamphetamine and ammunition, and the arrest of a wanted 27-year-old man – who is an associate of a high-ranking Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) member – for multiple criminal offences. As part of this operation, a 25-year-old woman was also arrested and charged with drug supply and proceeds of crime offences.

Operation Hawk 2022 will conclude in the early hours of Saturday (29 January 2022), and information, including results and highlights, will be available once compiled.