Prohibiting gang insignia on school property

The Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Act 2013 was passed into legislation on 13 August 2013, making it an offence to wear gang insignia on government premises. This includes buildings and associated grounds (playing fields, car parks) at any school.

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What you need to know

The legislation makes the display of gang insignia on government premises, without a reasonable excuse, an offence and gives the police the powers to arrest or seize people displaying patches on school grounds. If the person removes the clothing containing the gang insignias they may remain on the school premises.

Gang insignia means a sign, symbol, or representation commonly displayed to denote membership of, an affiliation with, or support for a gang, not being a tattoo; and includes any item of clothing to which a sign, symbol, or representation is attached.

Exemptions

The legislation does not apply to tattoos and gang colours. 

The gangs this legislation applies to are listed in Section 4 of the Act. Additions to the list may be made as required.

Under Section 4 of the Act, these are the gangs the law applies to: Aotearoa Natives, Hells Angels MC, Mangu Kaha, Sinn Fein MC*, Bandidos MC, Highway 61 MC, Mothers MC, Southern Vikings MC, Black Power, Hu-Hu MC, Nomads, Storm Troopers, Devils Henchmen MC, Killerbeez, Outcasts MC, Taupiri MC, Epitaph Riders, King Cobras, Outlaws MC, Tribal Huk, Filthy Few MC, Lone Legion MC, Rebels MC, Tribesmen MC, Forty-Five MC, Lost Breed MC, Red Devils MC, Tyrants MC, Greasy Dogs MC, Magogs MC, Road Nights MC, Head Hunters MC, Mongrel Mob, Satans Slaves MC.

Additions to this list may be made as required.

*Not a branch, or an associated organisation, of the political party known by a similar name.

Steps schools can take

Ensure that all school employees are aware of the legislation and have an awareness of the insignia associated with gang members. The legislation does not require schools to enforce the law, nor are there any penalties for the school if the conditions are not complied with. There is no requirement under the Act for signage to be put up however, if a school chooses to do so, the location and prominence of the signage should be considered as well as the ability of gang members to remove or vandalise accessible signs.

There will be families who may breach the law who may not know that the law has changed. If appropriate and safe, consider engaging with the family to ensure they are aware of the Act and what they need to do to comply. The Police are also focusing on educating communities and offenders about the new legislation.

At all times, use your common sense, if there are circumstances where school employees feel too intimidated or that their safety would be compromised by pointing the law change out, contact your local police station or speak to your Police School Community Officer or Community Constable for assistance and advice. You may also wish to seek advice from Youth Aid or Iwi Liaison Officers which may already be working with your school.

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