ZB

Common ground and trust pivotal to negotiating gang ceasefire

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 1:51pm
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Common ground and trust pivotal to negotiating gang ceasefire

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 1:51pm

Finding common ground and trust would have been pivotal to negotiating a ceasefire between two rival motorcycle gangs, a former police officer and Auckland councillor says.

The Herald has revealed peace talks were held over the weekend between senior leaders of the Tribesmen and Killer Beez, where they agreed to a truce, according to gang and police sources.

It follows a three-week blitz of shootings and suspicious fires across Auckland.

Manukau Ward councillor and former police officer Alf Filipaina said he didn't know the details of the agreement, but was aware conversations had been happening for a few weeks.

Filipaina said after some initial reluctance, he was glad the korero between police, gangs, and community leaders was kept open to reach an agreement.

It was a difficult thing to get two rival gangs together to agree on something and gaining trust was important, he said.

"From past experience, it's really talking to the individuals first and seeing if there's some common ground ... they don't sort of meet around the table, like in the UN or anywhere else, but it's a matter of just sort of negotiating."

Filipaina said the community was relieved and hoped the truce meant they would no longer be caught in the crossfire.

But he warned the negotiation was on tenterhooks and said authorities must continue to work with the gangs by keeping dialogue open.

"That needs to continue and as long as both of them end up sort of respecting what has been decided."

One of the conditions of the ceasefire is that the Killer Beez are not allowed to wear their patches in Ōtara, the suburb of Manukau to which both gangs claim a historical connection.

There have been no shootings or fires linked to the conflict this week since the truce was announced, although the gang and police sources said tensions between the groups remained high.

Sociologist and gang expert Jarrod Gilbert said it was often tricky to get gang leaders together and into the same room when tensions were high.

"The fact that's happened is a good thing," he said.

Gilbert told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking it was now a matter of whether the truce would hold.

He said news of the truce would have largely spread around the gangs by word of mouth, because pen to paper would only leave a trail he said.

"There's known leadership, respected in the groups and so most times, not all times, when decisions are made by the leadership, then the troops just have to come into line," said Gilbert.

Gilbert said gang members may have reflected on the situation after becoming uncomfortable leaving the house or pad and having to always look over their shoulders.

He also said pressure from police has helped.

"That's why police tension is incredibly important, it's not just about justice but it's about bringing back peace."

Gilbert said he'd like to see more work done around gang legislation.

"The history of gang legislation is abysmal and that's mostly because it's made up on the fly," he said.