The Muslim community says the move by NSW Police to put the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad (MEOCS) in charge of gun crime investigations will split the community instead of solving crime.
Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Keysar Trad says it's wrong to focus on ethnicity and police would do better to use a title that reflects the geographic focus of the operation.
More than 130 shootings occurred in NSW last year, by the state opposition's count, with most located in Sydney's west.
"By constantly telling people that this is about ethnicity then you are excluding the majority of Australians from participating in solving this problem," Mr Trad told AAP.
"The only way to unite Australian society is to make sure you don't use divisive labels," he said.
Michael Kennedy, a police detective for 18 years who now heads the University of Western Sydney Bachelor of Policing program, said the sentiment behind the shift was "pretty legitimate".
"The problem is the message going out to the population is that gun crime only exists in the Middle Eastern community," Dr Kennedy told AAP.
On Wednesday, police launched Operation Apollo to address the rise in gun crime in Sydney and across NSW.
MEOCS will run Apollo and take the lead on all gun crime incidents, many of which have been previously investigated by local police.
Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decision followed consultations with the specialty police units, including MEOCS, that make up State Crime Command.
"The experts ... have come back and said this is the most appropriate way to deal with this problem," Mr Scipione told reporters in Sydney.
Director of Organised Crime Arthur Katsogiannis, who will head Apollo, asked the community not to expect too much, too soon.
"Be patient with us," Chief Superintendent Katsogiannis said.
"Things aren't going to happen overnight."
He also scuttled fears that MEOCS' focus on shootings in public places will at be the expense of stopping illegal drug activity, fraud, extortions and other types of organised crime.
"Nothing will take a back burner," he said.
Mr Scipione questioned the effectiveness of federal gun legislation that passed the lower house on Tuesday.
Anyone caught smuggling at least 50 firearms over a six-month period could face life imprisonment.
NSW Police made a submission to parliament seeking a lower threshold of 15 to 17 guns.
"Our view was that 50 was a bit too high," Mr Scipione said.