Police step up fight against gangs

Police have upped their presence across the west.

Tate Papworth

Police will flood the western suburbs in a bid to quash gang tensions following the stabbing murder of 15-year-old Solomone Taufeulungaki on Tuesday.

Solomone was outside Brimbank Shopping Centre at Deer Park when he was allegedly approached by a group of boys.

He was allegedly stabbed and died at the scene.

Six boys, aged between 13 and 16 were located a short time later and have been charged with violent disorder and affray.

No one has been charged over the death.

Tensions flared after the incident and a police officer was taken to hospital after a brawl involving about 30 people broke out near where the incident occured.

On Thursday Victoria Police North West Commander Tim Hansen said the street gang problem in the west is rising.

“We have deployed extra resources for a considerable time now across Melbourne’s west in relation to what is an ongoing gang issue for us,“ he said.

“We are acutely aware of the risk these street gangs present to us.“

Commander Hansen said significant rises in crime statistics data was in some instances driven by street gangs.

He said police would step up their presence right across the western suburbs in a bid to stop any further violence.

“Our thinking isn’t just limited to Brimbank and Melton, but we’re incorporating our plan right across the western suburbs,“ he said.

“Since Tuesday we’ve deployed extra police out across Melbourne’s west.

“You would’ve seen mounted branch police, our public order response team, PSO, transit police all deployed on the ground… and that will continue over the next couple of weeks until we get a sense that the likelihood of retribution or reprisal is minimised.“

Police are also liaising with the Department of Education to increase security at schools in the west if reprisal attacks occur.

“If these kids or street gangs want to come back into the western suburbs and get involved in a fight over coming days and coming weeks, we will be there waiting for them and they will be held to account.“