VLAD changes make it nearly impossible for police to shut down bikie clubhouses
Both government and bikie sources predict Labor’s new legislation will be weak in stopping bikies gathering in private to plan illegal operations. (who needs a clubhouse to do that if you were to? FFS....)
“When you look at the Broadbeach riots, they all met there (at a clubhouse) beforehand,” a government source said. “It’s where all the business is done. It all centres around holding church and the clubhouse.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced her Government would stop bikies from wearing colours, retain mandatory sentencing and give police the power to shut down addresses used for fraud rackets.
But the Bulletin has been told Cabinet members have been divided on how effective the proposed new anti-consorting laws would be on keeping clubhouses closed.
“It is believed the onus will be on police to prove that a bikie clubhouse is being used for illegal trade,” the government source said.
Under Labor’s changes, police would have to work through the judiciary and gain a strong brief of evidence before a bikie clubhouse could be shut down.
“If you’re a cop and the bikies are gathering at a Coast tavern, you will have to get evidence like CCTV footage and establish that they are there for illegal reasons,” the government source said.
“They (the police) are more likely than not to move away from that.”
The VLAD laws introduced by the previous Newman government was prescriptive on clubhouses in terms of how they should be policed.
About 40 clubhouses across the state were listed to be closed, forcing seven bikie haunts to be abandoned at industrial suburbs on the Coast.
Labor is yet to provide specific details of the new laws regarding clubhouses other than the legislation will be similar to NSW’s anti-consorting laws.
In April, Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced VLAD laws would be repealed and replaced by the NSW laws which allow bikie gang members without convictions to meet in public.
The Bulletin understands that if Cabinet decides to follow the NSW consorting laws model stakeholders will get a guarantee the laws will be reviewed within 12-18 months.
Opposition MPs predict Labor will repeal a critical segment of the LNP’s legislation which listed 26 criminal organisations, preventing them from operating clubhouses.
Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates said police on the beat were most concerned about how the new laws impact on the policing of clubhouses if the NSW model was introduced.
“They are weakening the VLAD laws,” she said.