A POLICE crackdown on bikies
and their associates operating tattoo parlours has pushed
organised crime figures into a new industry — tattoo
Police Commissioner Grant
Stevens has confirmed that officers have launched the first
prosecution under laws which took effect mid-last year.
They ban outlaw motorcycle
gang members and associates — including their partners or family
members — from operating tattoo parlours in South Australia.
Police have also issued seven
fines, Mr Stevens revealed, but details of the amount or the
breaches involved have not been outlined.
SA Police Licensing and
Enforcement Branch officers have conducted 44 audits of tattoo
parlours and Serious and Organised Crime Branch officers have
been involved in 20 inspections.
They provided expert advice on
the involvement of bikie gangs in some businesses.
Mr Stevens told a
parliamentary committee that police were observing a “retreat”
by bikie gang members from the tattoo industry — “on the face of
However, he added that, “anecdotally”,
officers were seeing those organised crime elements moving into tattoo
Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval,
who also appeared before the committee, added: “It’s actually not a
joke. I guess, for them, it’s a business opportunity.”
“Where there’s a gap (in a market) I
guess they’ll exploit the gap,” he said.
“That’s the difficulty, being able to
close that gap before it can be exploited.”
Mr Duval noted outlaw motorcycle gangs
also viewed e-cigarette or vaporiser businesses as “an opportunity”.
In a letter to a separate
parliamentary committee, Mr Stevens wrote that four police staff “have
worked almost exclusively” on general tattoo notifications since the
Tattoo Industry Control Act took effect on July 1 last year.
He said Licensing Enforcement Branch
officers had received 582 tattoo-related notifications from the Consumer
and Business Services Department over the year to July, 2017.
“There is reliable evidence to suggest
that some individuals are stepping away from their affiliation with an
outlaw motorcycle gang because their priority is to the tattoo
industry,” Mr Stevens told the committee.
“We are closely monitoring those to
see whether it is actually a genuine separation from the group or
whether it is simply a thin veil to be seen to be compliant (with the
Opposition police spokesman Stephan
Knoll said stopping organised crime elements would take “continual
vigilance” and policing “must evolve as criminal methods do”.