Victoria will stand up a new police unit targeting illegal firearms, in a bid to crackdown on violent crime.
The Illicit Firearms Unit will be staffed by 22 investigators, twelve more than previously assigned to the crime area under a $1.5 million annual funding commitment from the state government.
Focusing on the manufacturing and trafficking of illegal guns, the investigators will explore links to organised crime groups and gangs, as well as homicides, shootings, drugs and family violence.
Minister for police and emergency services, Lisa Neville, said the unit will work in concert with interstate colleagues.
“The new and highly trained unit will build on the work of previous specialist teams with invaluable intelligence that will enable us to put a stop to illicit firearms,” Neville said.
Australia’s criminal intelligence commission estimates there could be as many as 260,000 firearms in the black market across the country.
Last year there were nine fatal shootings and 41 non-fatal shootings resulting in injury, with police in Victoria seizing more than 770 weapons.
“We’re continually looking at ways we can deter and disrupt the manufacturing, trafficking and use of illegal firearms to keep Victorian communities safe,” Neville said.