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From: The Courier-Mail
January 11, 2012
QUEENSLAND Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson on how police are dealing with local bikie gangs.
A RANGE of statements and issues have been raised in recent times about the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs on the Gold Coast. I would like to put them into a context that hopefully will bring both value and perspective to this important issue.
The Queensland Police Service's first and most important priority is public safety. This responsibility is at the very core of everything we do.
The people of Queensland expect us to do everything in our power to disrupt, prevent and, where necessary, respond to illegal activity, including the illicit activities of OMCGs. This is exactly what we do. We do all we lawfully can.
Much of our work in relation to OMCGs remains, by necessity, covert. However, a lack of visibility should not be confused with a lack of activity.
The reality is the QPS is always monitoring what is happening through the OMCGs, both in Queensland and nationally. For example, a national gathering of the Gypsy Jokers OMCG is taking place in southeast Queensland this week.
The QPS is actively planning and will manage this activity to ensure public safety and address any criminal activity or traffic infringements should they occur, using resources from the regions, State Traffic, Operations Support Command and State Crime Operations Command and spearheaded by Taskforce Hydra.
Taskforce Hydra is a dedicated team of intelligence and investigative officers who work closely with the regions and other specialist areas to tackle OMCGs.
It has been in operation since 2007 and, in that time, 972 people, mostly members and associates of OMCGs, have been charged with some 2700 offences, including serious crimes such as attempted murder, arson, torture, firearms offences and drug trafficking.
We have very strong intelligence-sharing networks throughout the country and we make sure we gather as much intelligence as we can, through a whole range of channels, including our own officers, who are interacting with the public every day.
As an aspect of this, we regularly produce intelligence information bulletins, but that does not mean that extreme violence between OMCGs is imminent.
In a large and decentralised state such as Queensland, it is essential Brisbane-based specialist units such as Taskforce Hydra exist and are able to co-ordinate information, intelligence and police activity and support their colleagues statewide. The recently announced five-officer Illegal Firearms Squad is an example of that.
We are always concerned and aware of the potential for conflict between OMCGs competing for lucrative illicit activities.
We took appropriate action after the recent disagreement and physical altercation between members of two different OMCG groups at a Gold Coast nightclub.
While we are monitoring and will continue to monitor the situation very closely, we have nothing to indicate at present that there is anything more serious planned. If that changes, we will take all necessary action, including informing the public.
We are keenly conscious of our responsibilities to the people of Queensland, and our commitment to public safety is wholehearted.