MIDDLE Eastern gangs and the theft of guns from licensed firearm owners are presenting the two greatest challenges in the fight against organised crime, according to senior police.
Speaking at the launch of Operation Apollo, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione admitted Middle Eastern gang activity in western Sydney was spiralling out of control and police needed to take on a new approach to tackling gun crime.
Under the new structure, teams of specially-trained officers, led by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, will investigate all drive-by and targeted shootings.
The teams will also be given greater powers to track known and suspected criminals.
Mr Scipione said the community had sent a clear message that they wanted the gun violence to stop and police had an obligation to do "everything in our power" to help.
This week, 35 weapons - including 24 handguns - have already been seized.
Police are also investigating a number of break-ins at homes belonging to registered firearms owners.
Most recently, an elderly man suffered a heart attack on Wednesday after he was bound to a chair in his Sydney garage while thieves made off with a number of guns.
The 77-year-old remains at a Blue Mountains hospital.
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