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Top cop's warns outlaw bikies, 'we have a gang too'

Superintendent Brett Guerin who has become head of the task force to combat Bikie gangs.

Superintendent Brett Guerin. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay describes Brett Guerin as a ''hard-nosed investigator'', which is just as well because he is about to stick it into places where it will be most unwelcome.

Superintendent Guerin has been moved from the Crime Department to take over the Razon liquor taskforce with one instruction - ''Take on the bikies.''

''We are going to let him loose on the nightclubs to get a far better understanding on the security side of things and links back to organised crime. You will see some fire-works down there in four to five weeks,'' Mr Lay told Fairfax Media.

For years the Razon taskforce has tried to work hand in hand with licensed premises to deal with problems such as violence, underage drinking and the serving of intoxicated customers.

But now with Mr Lay's back-to-the-future order, Razon will rigorously enforce the law rather than send licensees to the ''naughty chair'' over infractions.

The reason for the change of approach is growing evidence that outlaw motorcycle gangs are dominating key sections of the nightclub security business.

They may not be registered crowd controllers, but police say bikies are effectively controlling the doors, and this has nothing to do with earning the going rate of $30 an hour and everything to do with creating a drug monopoly. Those who decide who enters a club can dominate the drug flow inside - bikies on the door inevitably means bikie drug dealers on the floor.

''When people go to a licensed premise and see a bikie on the door, then there is something wrong. This flags to me there needs to be a change of approach. This is simply not acceptable,'' Mr Lay said.

So Superintendent Guerin has been given licence to chase the unlicensed inside licensed premises.

While the team has yet to earn the moniker ''Guerin's Guerillas'', Mr Lay expects them to have a door-busting impact when they are up and about.

Superintendent Guerin is a man with an engaging laugh and a quick wit but his background is at the sharp end of criminal investigations, and Mr Lay has identified him as the right man for the job.

''We have a message to any bikie gang members who want to be involved in nightclub security. We have a gang too - it is called the Victoria Police. And I'll give you a tip. Our gang is bigger than your gang,'' he said.

Superintendent Guerin will have access not only to his own troops but also to a large number from the Operational Response Unit.

''If bikies say they are not working the door and we see them controlling who comes in, then that just won't wash,'' he said.

''If we find a licensed premise that uses bikies as unlicensed security, we will have 50 cops there today and 50 cops there tomorrow. We will pester and annoy until they see the error of their ways.''

Increasingly, nightclub owners are telling police they are being forced to employ bikie-connected bouncers as part of the strategy to dominate the illicit pill market. Some owners say they are considering leaving the business as intimidatory tactics increase.

''We think our intervention will be welcomed by most licensees,'' Superintendent Guerin said. And those who don't can expect little sympathy.

Police say the nightclub industry is chronically flawed and they are the ones left to deal with the fallout.

They say the root problem is that there are too many clubs serving too much alcohol to too many patrons over too many hours.

According to Superintendent Guerin, those who fill patrons full of grog and then shovel them out onto the street for police to deal with will find themselves under increasing scrutiny.

''This is a public health and public order issue. Some people are making a great deal of money out of this and expecting the taxpayer to pick up the bill for the sometimes disastrous consequences,'' he said.

Part of the Razon taskforce's brief is to develop business profiles of the companies running Melbourne's nightclubs, strip clubs and security companies to identify links to organised-crime identities.

Police have long suspected some strip clubs and nightspots are owned by senior outlaw motorcycle members, whose financial interests are concealed through front men and Trojan-horse companies.

Areas to be targeted include King Street, Chapel Street and parts of the Mornington Peninsula where bikies have been seen controlling bar doors.

As one senior investigator said: ''I spend half my time chasing them during the week. They are the last thing I want to look at while having a beer on a Sunday afternoon.''


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