19 Jul 2010

Sallies and Mongrel Mob join forces

5:59 pm on 19 July 2010

The Mongrel Mob and the Salvation Army are joining forces to try to rehabilitate some of the gang's drug users.

A seven-week retreat for six families from the Notorious chapter of the gang will start in Turangi on Monday.

The Salvation Army says a team of almost 20 clinical, leadership and supervising staff will work with the gang members and help them reintegrate into normal life.

Major Lynette Hutson says a similar programme last year with the gang achieved great results.

14 entering programme

The Mob chapter says its members are working hard to deal with their addictions.

Edge Te Whaiti of Notorious says 14 members are entering a rehab programme this year.

He says the message has been going out to gang members to deal with drug addictions for over five years, but no one wanted to help until the Salvation Army "put their hand up" last year.

Of the 12 who went through rehab last year, he says, four have relapsed.

Police 'kept in the dark'

Police in Turangi say there was no consultation with them about the plans for the course, and Senior Sergeant Sue Douglas says it's disappointing they were kept in the dark.

Senior Sgt Douglas says she is reasonably confident things will go well, with police treating the event as any other and managing any problems as they arise on a case-by-case basis.

Major Hutson says local schools and the medical centre were made aware of the seven-week camp last month, as well as police at a senior level. She says the gang members aren't a risk to the community.