Police crime statistics have revealed that fewer than half a per cent of all offenders in Victoria are bikies, forcing the state government to defend its war on outlaw gangs.
About one in every 270 people charged with a crime last year were bikies, despite millions of dollars being spent on police raids and taskforces, and the state government passing legislation designed to stamp them out.
It is the first time the figures have been released.
Attorney-General Robert Clark said the government would not back down from its iron-fisted approach to bikies, and denied he had overstated their influence to pursue a tough-on-crime agenda.
Mr Clark and senior police said that almost half of all bikies in Victoria had been charged with a criminal offence in the past year.
Twice since June - most recently earlier this month - Mr Clark said that "unlike Labor, we will not allow Victoria to become the soft underbelly of bikie gang crime in Australia".
He has mentioned outlaw gangs when announcing everything from DNA investigation to proceeds of crime legislation.
Bikies thought they were "above the law" and had prospered while Labor had its "head in the sand", Mr Clark has said. Labor was swept from power in 2010 after a Coalition election platform with a strong emphasis on law and order.
"The threat posed by organised crime gangs is plain - drug production and trafficking, violence, blackmail, extortion, intimidation and arson," Mr Clark said.
"Victoria Police have repeatedly identified the serious threat posed by the involvement of these gangs in drug distribution networks and other organised crime, and the need for strong laws to tackle them.
"The government has acted to give Victoria Police the powers they need to crack down on these gangs."
Opposition police spokesman Wade Noonan said the Coalition refused to address the rising crime rate despite its anti-bikie bombardment.
"Whilst the Napthine government have been focusing their attention on less than one per cent of offenders, crime rates across the other 99 per cent of offenders have been skyrocketing.
"The Liberals might be masters at chest-beating and scaremongering but the fact is Victorians are less safe today than they were four years ago."
Of all offenders charged with a crime last year, 0.36 per cent were bikies.
Only 36 bikies were charged with drug production or trafficking, despite repeated warnings from senior police and the state government about the grip of outlaw gangs on the drug market. There were almost as many bikies charged with property damage.
Despite Mr Clark's comments, no bikies were charged with arson last year.
The figures show that the 160 bikies charged with crimes against the person in 2013-14 represented 0.34 per cent of all violent offenders.
Bikies were most likely to be charged with weapons and explosives offences, with 156 charged last year.
There were 142 bikies charged with assault, although this included those charged over family violence incidents.
It can be revealed that a high-ranking Hells Angel is facing court charged with family violence-related offences. The bikie cannot be named to protect his alleged victim.
There were 71 bikies charged with justice procedure offences, which can also relate to family violence.
Echo Taskforce Detective Superintendent Peter De Santo said there were 1300 to 1500 bikies in Victoria. In 2011, when the taskforce was launched, police estimated there were 4000.
There were 796 bikies charged with a criminal offence last year.
"The fact is that Victoria Police have charged about 50 per cent of all bikies in the state with a crime in the past year," Detective Superintendent De Santo said.
"We make no apologies for targeting bikies, because they're members of organised crime gangs.
"Of all offenders, they're more over-represented than any other group in Victorian society."
Anti-fortification and anti-association legislation, passed almost entirely to crack down on bikies, has barely been used. Anti-association legislation was first passed in 2012, but was amended earlier this year after senior police told Mr Clark it was unworkable.
Only two anti-fortification applications have been made by police, against Hells Angels and Bros clubhouses.
Police have hinted at preparing anti-association applications, or enforcing bans from other states in Victoria, but a High Court challenge to similar legislation in Queensland has stalled this process.
The Hells Angels and Comanchero gangs have both been targeted in huge Echo Taskforce raids in the past year, with 700 officers involved in the October raids on the Hells Angels and 570 officers during the Comanchero operation in February. About 800 police were involved in Australia's largest anti-terror raids last month.
Police sources estimated the bikie raids would have cost at least $100,000 each, given the number of officers involved, the possibility of overtime, and the need to shift officers from their normal duties. Some questioned the amount of resources dedicated to policing bikies.
Bikies have been flagged on the Victoria Police LEAP database since 2011, the same year Echo was created.
As with all offenders, one bikie could be counted several times if charged with offences in multiple categories, for example drugs and weapons charges.
It is also possible that some bikies charged with an offence are not flagged when entered in the LEAP database.