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Sydney news: NSW Police target increasing knife crime among young people

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Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Statewide knife crackdown

A gloved hand can be seen holding up a knife found in the back seat of a car
Police have noted rising knife crime in NSW.(Supplied: NSW Police)

Police have seized more than 110 knives, 21 firearms and charged 232 people as part of a statewide crackdown on knife-related crime.

Operation Foil II took place from June 14 to June 18 to reduce the number of young people carrying knives in public, and prevent violent incidents that cause significant harm.

The statewide operation involved highly-visible police patrols in high-risk locations, as well as Youth Command Officers visiting high schools to warn teens about the risks of carrying weapons. It follows an increase in the number of young people becoming both perpetrators and victims of knife-related offences in the past five years.

Commissioner Karen Webb said the force was reminding young people about the impacts of having a dangerous weapon.

“Our intelligence shows that some young people are increasingly carrying sharp instruments for self-defence, but they don’t fully understand the potentially fatal consequences that this can have,” she said.

“When someone has a dangerous weapon in their possession, there is a much greater likelihood of a small-scale incident escalating into a fatal one.”

Fatal house fire in Blue Mountains

One person has died in a fierce house fire that erupted this morning in the Blue Mountains.

Superintendent Adam Newberry, from Fire and Rescue NSW, said crews were called to Regent Street, Katoomba about 5am after reports of a large blaze.

Firefighters were told a person residing in the home was unaccounted-for but crews were unable to enter the property due to intense flames.

It took an hour-and-a-half to control the fire, before a body was discovered on the second floor.

Four trucks and 16 firefighters attended the scene this morning.

Police and fire investigators are still establishing the cause of the blaze.

Integrity agencies to get funding injection 

ICAC logo
ICAC is one of the agencies set to receive extra resources.(ABC )

NSW’s five major integrity agencies, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption, are set to receive $440 million in extra funding in today’s state budget.

A government official said the money had been allocated after requests for more support.

Other agencies to see increased funding in the next financial year are the NSW Electoral Commission, the Ombudsman, the Audit Office and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

Non-government sector’s plea for ‘adequate’ grants

A woman sitting on a couch holding a pen and paper.
Joanna Quilty says money should be allocated to the sector in today’s Budget.(Supplied: NSW Council of Social Services)

The non-government sector is calling for the state government to index grants given to charities and other community groups that rely on funding to pay wages.

From July 1, the national minimum wage will increase by $40 a week, which amounts to an increase of 5.2 per cent.

NSW Council of Social Service chief executive Joanna Quilty said that, while the decision was most welcome, most sector organisations relied on grants from the state government to pay their workers.

She said the money should be allocated in today’s Budget so that there is certainty.

“It’s a guessing game. We are never quite sure how much will flow through and it’s absolutely vital that, this time around, it’s adequate so services are able to meet that 5.2 per cent minimum wage increase,” Ms Quilty said. 

Deadline extended for Western Sydney infrastructure grants

Stuart Ayres and Matt Kean
Stuart Ayres (left) said the funding extension announced by Treasurer Matt Kean (right) would ensure “transformational” projects were funded.(AAP: Joel Carrett, Dean Lewins)

A deadline extension has been granted for Western Sydney organisations applying for millions in government funding to create or improve local infrastructure.

Applications for the WestInvest grants program has been extended until 5pm on July 25, 2022, with successful projects to be awarded in December 2022. 

So far, 15 councils and more than 1,000 organisations who submitted a registration of interest are eligible to apply for funding. 

Treasurer Matt Kean said some applicants had asked for more time to complete their applications for the “once-in-a-generation opportunity”.

Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres welcomed the extension.

“Allowing applicants more time will result in better applications and ensure that we are funding truly transformational projects for communities in Western Sydney,” Mr Ayres said.

White Bay could be Sydney’s ‘Tate Modern’

White Bay Power Station facade
The old White Bay Power Station site in Sydney’s inner west has been in limbo for decades.(ABC News: Sarah Gerathy)

A renewed White Bay Power Station could be the Harbour City’s answer to London’s Tate Modern — the UK’s national arts collection — says NSW Cities Minister Rob Stokes.

The 105-year-old site, located in Sydney’s bays precinct, would be the centrepiece for a state government plan to redevelop the precinct.

Treasurer Matt Kean says $49 million has been allocated to fund remediation work for the power station in today’s state budget.

“This will allow government to restore and transform this important piece of NSW history on Sydney’s harbour foreshore, removing lead and asbestos and making the building safe for future use,” he said.

Mr Stokes said remediation would take about two years.

Place Management NSW has been tasked with examining feedback from a draft master plan exhibition and determining a process for the future use of the power station. 

“The White Bay Power Station could be Sydney’s answer to London’s Tate Modern, only we have a much nicer harbour,” Mr Stokes said. 

“The restoration of this former [coal-fired] power station will power Sydney’s most-anticipated urban renewal project in generations and spark enormous investment.”

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Hundreds of stolen cars recovered in global Interpol operation funded by the UAE

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A United Arab Emirates-funded global police operation targeting stolen vehicle trafficking has led to the recovery of hundreds of cars, trucks and motorbikes and almost half a million stolen cigarettes in just two weeks, Interpol announced on Wednesday.

Operation Carback saw frontline police at seaports and land border crossings in 77 countries use Interpol’s secure global police communications network – I-24/7 – to check vehicles and their owners against Interpol’s databases and instantaneously detect potential criminals or criminal activity.

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Interpol launched its ‘Reducing Vehicle Crime and Theft’ Program in 2016 with funding from the United Arab Emirates via Interpol’s ‘Foundation for a Safer World’, which financed Operation Carback 2022.

Since May 2016, the foundation has been supporting seven key Interpol initiatives by donating $52 million over a period of five years, as part of a contribution agreement between the Foundation and the UAE government.

In just over two weeks, Operation Carback led to the identification of 1,121 stolen cars and 64 motorcycles, the arrest or detention of 222 suspected stolen vehicle traffickers, the detention of eight suspected people smugglers, the detection of 26 fraudulent vehicle documents and the seizure of 480,000 stolen cigarettes.

Officers raided chop shops – places where stolen vehicles are dismantled into parts that are smuggled or sold online – with confiscations triggering further investigations into car crime gangs globally.

Interpol supported the operation by crosschecking information collected in the field against its international databases, with Frontex also supporting the European leg of frontline operations.

Experts from Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicles Unit were deployed to key locations to assist national law enforcement with database checks in the field as well as in exchanging, analyzing and acting on operational data.

With the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) typically removed from stolen cars, on-the-ground assistance from Interpol enabled national law enforcement to connect with car manufacturers to identify vehicle origin.

Because stolen vehicles are frequently trafficked to finance and carry out crime ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing and people smuggling to corruption and international terrorism, the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters is analyzing intelligence gathered during Operation Carback to identify links with other crime areas.

“With vehicles usually smuggled beyond borders and ending up thousands of miles away from where they were stolen, an international operation like Carback is crucial to enabling police to tackle the networks behind global car trafficking,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s director of organized and emerging Crime.

“The main key to the success of Operation Carback is the wealth of information contained in Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicle database, and the fact that throughout the operation police in the field were able to access this crucial data.”

Last year, Interpol identified some 248,000 stolen vehicles thanks to the SMV database. More than 130 countries shared their national data with Interpol, and carried out more than 280 million searches.

The UAE has close links with Interpol and in November it was announced that the country’s Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, of the UAE’s interior ministry, had been elected as the new President of Interpol.

The senior police official will serve the four-year term in Lyon, France.

The new appointment makes him the first candidate from the Middle Eastern region to be elected into the position since the global crime fighting agency was founded in the 1920s.

Read more:

UAE Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi elected as new Interpol President

UAE joins Interpol operation to crack down on human trafficking gangs

Dubai Police arrest international drug lord known as ‘The Ghost’


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