Criminal gangs and organised crime groups are the targets of a new high-powered 80-officer-strong Victoria Police taskforce.
The Visibility, Intelligence, Prevention, Enforcement and Reassurance taskforce, to be known as VIPER, was unveiled on Friday and will focus on criminal networks including bikies gangs.
It will launch on Monday with officers led by a detective inspector proactively targeting members and associates of those groups and those involved in homicides and shootings.
"Victoria is a very hostile environment," Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters on Friday.
"The heat is going to go up even further now as a result of this taskforce."
The tactical and investigative unit also aims to create a difficult environment for criminal groups to operate.
This will include firearm prohibition order searches, bail compliance checks, policing of outlay motorcycle gang runs, vehicle checks enforcement and the deployment of officers to events known to organised crime group members.
The taskforce has been set up in the wake of last year's police review of organised crime in Victoria.
"As the nature of organised crime continues to evolve, we know we have to be agile and change the way we confront these groups," Mr Patton said.
It also comes after a spate of shootings in the Melbourne area, which police believe are connected to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
But Mr Patten said the timing of the taskforce announcement was not linked, adding that there had been a significant decline in non-fatal shootings in recent years.
But the Victorian opposition claims the new taskforce "lacks any real bite".
"(Premier) Daniel Andrews was warned his watering down of laws to prevent outlaw motorcycle gangs in Victoria would lead to increased violence and more gangs in our state," Opposition police spokesman Brad Battin said on Friday.
"This is now a reality.
"Safety in the community is a genuine concern and now police are in a reactive position to fix the Andrews Labor government's mess."
Australian Associated Press
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