Strike Force CRaptor model could
go nationwide in bikie battle
AVA BENNY-MORRISON, The Sunday
LAWS to smash outlaw
motorcycle gangs, based on Strike Force Raptor, could be
introduced across the country in an unprecedented show of
unity by national police leaders.
After years on the drawing board,
a submission calling for every state and territory to have the
same anti-bikie laws is expected to be made to state
Attorneys-General next year.
The plan, to be modelled on
successful operations such as Raptor and Task Force Maxima in
Queensland, will highlight the most effective laws that have
helped to curtail bikie activity in that state.
The move is partly in response to
bikies moving into Tasmania and the ACT, where laws are more lax
than their neighbours, after crackdowns in other states. “Recent
events in Tasmania and Victoria have provided the impetus for a
submission to be made,” one law enforcement official said.
The plan is still in its infancy
and there was work to be done to get every police agency on
board, another source said.
Strike Force Raptor broke the
bikies in NSW by creating a hostile environment in which
officers used everything, from minor vehicle defects to
restricted premises legislation, to keep the pressure on the
bikies’ way of life.
It forced many club members to hang
up their colours or take their business to more comfortable
But inconsistencies between organised
crime laws across the country have unwittingly created safe havens
While bikies can be charged for
associating with criminals in NSW and Queensland, they can mingle
with whoever they please in Tasmania. As a result, the island state
is currently facing increasing gang activity, with the Bandidos
trying to establish a foothold in Devonport.
About 200 club members will descend
on Tasmania in a fortnight for the club’s national run. Last month,
more than 400 Rebels members held a ride in Tasmania, finishing up
in Hobart to mark the chapter’s 20th anniversary.
Police, with help from interstate
gang squad officers, greeted the bikies as the Spirit of Tasmania
vessel sailed into Devonport. Even the Australian Taxation Office
turned up to hand assessment notices to 12 bikies.
“We had the Outlaws in October last
year, the Rebels in October this year and Bandidos coming later this
month,” Serious Organised Crime division Det Insp Greg Ball said.
“We haven’t had this number of
national-type runs this close together before.” Insp Ball said
Tasmanian police were looking at what organised crime laws had
worked elsewhere to build their own case to the state government for
Without states and territories
referring their powers to the Commonwealth, the federal government
cannot legislate criminal organisation laws, such as consorting or
firearm prohibition orders.
A “nationally consistent approach”
may mean governments can implement the same anti-gang laws.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said
the government supported any effort to develop stronger legislative
responses to the OMG threat.
“A nationally consistent legislative
approach would complement Australia’s strong, ongoing law
enforcement efforts to combat serious and organised crime,” he