PM Tony Abbott announces $10m
strike team for WA to crackdown on bikie gangs
1 day agoApril 01, 20141:19PM
Police and TRG officers conduct a raid on
the Coffin Cheaters headquarters in South
Fremantle. Picture: File image
A $10 MILLION strike team
will be set up in Western Australia to combat bikie
gangs, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
It will target about 450 active
members of nine outlaw motorcycle clubs in WA, and
report to the $64 million National Anti-Gangs Squad.
Mr Abbott said the strike team would
enable greater co-ordination between federal police, the
Australian Crime Commission and West Australian police.
He told 6PR Radio it was an important
“We do need to keep a good eye on them
and we do need to crack down on all criminal activity,”
“We know that bikie gangs are very,
very active in drugs, prostitution, money laundering.
Prime Minister Tony
Abbott has announced a $10 million
strike team will be set up in WA to
combat bikie gangs. Picture: Marie Nirme
“There's also the intimidatory aspect
of these gangs when they get together and as we know,
there are elements of gangs now involved with rogue
elements of some of our unions, particularly the
“This is an added dimension to the
gang problem in Australia and is one of the many reasons
why we need a co-ordinated approach.”
Mr Abbott said the $10 million in
funding would be enough for four years.
He said the federal government would
continue to fight bikie gangs “until this problem is
beaten”, although he conceded there were “no magic
wands” and a range of measures were necessary.
The prime minister rejects claims
Australia's new push against bikies is removing human
“It's not about taking anyone's rights
away – it's about giving police the resources and
importantly, the co-ordination to crack down on what is
a national problem, a cross-border problem, which is
very hard for the state police force to tackle on their
Mr Abbott conceded bikies were mostly
“a menace to each other instead of the public”, although
their drug peddling was particularly hurtful to society.
The new squad was signed off by
federal cabinet at a meeting in Perth this afternoon.
Federal Justice Minister Michael
Keenan said similar “strike force teams” had been rolled
out in NSW, Queensland and Victoria already.
Those squads had arrested 125 people
on 350 charges and confiscated 41 motor vehicles between
“They have proved to be very very
successful,” Mr Keenan said.
“This investment is the best thing the
Commonwealth can do.”
Police Minister Liza Harvey and
Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said they were thrilled
with the Federal Government’s commitment.
“When you have a look at the drugs
that are filtering down to a street level in Western
Australia, outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime
are behind that,” Ms Harvey said.
“From my perspective I’m really
thrilled the Federal Government has wasted no time in
putting some funding towards ensuring that the states
and the Commonwealth can work together to break the back
of organised crime in our community.”
Mr O’Callaghan said the $10 million
injection would help boost surveillance and intelligence
gathering on bikie gangs and organised crime outfits.
“We are going to use that (money) here
in Western Australia to employ extra resources, an extra
surveillance team, five imbedded AFP officers…that will
enable us to do a lot more around gang crime and lift
our effort in that area,” he said.
“There are nine (bikie) gangs in
Western Australia and a lot of crime is committed by
them…we are going to provide more effort in bringing
them to justice and disrupting their activities.”