A conference hears
bikies account for only 0.1 per cent of serious crime on the
Gold Coast. Picture: File
Source: News Limited
ANTI-association laws are a "kneejerk response to
moral panic" about bikies who commit as little as 0.1 per cent of
serious crime on the Gold Coast, according to an ex-senior local cop
Bond University's Terry Goldsworthy, who investigated the
Finks motorcycle gang as a detective, said the first target of Queensland's
Criminal Organisation Laws was "nowhere near the heart" of organised crime.
"They are simply not organised crime czars," he told the
International Serious and Organised Crime conference in Brisbane.
Mr Goldsworthy questioned the value of spending millions
of dollars on legal action and monitoring control orders on bikies
committing mostly "serious, public, violent offences" best dealt with by
Police figures showed bikie members committed 764, or 0.4
per cent, of just over 88,000 offences for the south east region in 2011-12.
Their share of serious crime was likely just 0.1 per cent,
Mr Goldsworthy said.
"When you look at the laws put in place (and) the impost
that's placed on law enforcement, for 0.1 per cent of crime, is it rational?
Is it effective? Is it appropriate?"
Mr Goldsworthy said the money trail would also lead away
from all but a handful of rich Gold Coast bikies.
The maverick address was at odds with earlier assurances
given by law enforcement leaders that bikie gangs played a significant role
in organised crime.
It also comes amid a federal government push to tackle
bikie crime, including the establishment of a Brisbane arm of a national
anti-gangs task force by the end of 2013.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said a "strike team" of
investigators from the Australian Federal Police, the tax office,
Immigration and Centrelink would work with local organised crime detectives.
Mr Clare said Brisbane had chapters of bikie gangs that
were at war over drug markets and turf in Sydney.
Australian Crime Commission chief John Lawler said bikie
gangs were among those organised crime groups with global reach.
"They are organised crime, make no bones about it,' he
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart rejected
suggestions of over-hype around bikie involvement in organised crime, saying
"media do a wonderful job in making sure that the entire public understands
the menace that these groups can be to the community".
"I don't think we should ever understate the role that
they play, these criminal acts play, in trying to cause harm to their fellow
Queenslanders and fellow Australians."