laws working, police say, but more incentives needed to ‘break the code of
A SECRET police submission to
the State Government’s bikie law review taskforce has argued mandatory sentences
are helping to break the “code of silence” that helps protect gang members from
The Queensland Police
submission, which is yet to be made public, insists the contentious VLAD laws
are different to other mandatory sentencing schemes as they target more serious
offences and offenders can “opt out” to avoid the harsher penalties.
But it has also suggested an
alternative scheme in a bid to maintain the “strong incentives” for bikies to
either provide information to police or refrain from committing crimes in the
Instead of slapping bikies with
an extra jail sentence of up to 25 years if they are found guilty of an offence
and do not co-operate with police, the QPS has suggested a maximum “incentive
penalty” cap of 15 years.
“A certain and significant
incentive is required to overcome the code of silence that exists within
criminal organisations,” the submission, which was penned by the QPS and
endorsed by the Queensland Police Union, states.
“The QPS advocates for a scheme which provides
sufficient incentives for offenders involved in organised crime to co-operate
with law enforcement, and which also provides a disincentive to others.”
Under the QPS’s proposed
scheme, a bikie charged with a low-range offence such as going armed to cause
fear would serve a maximum of two years and nine months if they did not
co-operate with police, rather than 25 years and nine months under VLAD.
Bikies charged with a higher
range offence would serve a maximum of 20 years in prison if they did not
co-operate, rather than 30 years.
Both Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett and QPU
president Ian Leavers declined to comment yesterday as they are members of the
Government’s taskforce, but Mr Leavers has previously said watering down the
laws “will be like giving them (bikies) the green light to flood back into the
Gold Coast and turn it into the crime capital of Australia”.
While no formal discussions
about the future of the anti-bikie laws have been had around the Cabinet table,
The Courier-Mail understands Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s ministers
are united on the need to tone down elements of the laws they consider to be
“overreaching” or unnecessary including some, if not all, of the mandatory
sentencing provisions, but say a tough stance on bikies should be maintained.
The taskforce is due to report
back to Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath by the end of March.