Police apply to ban Hells Angels
Police in New South Wales have applied to ban the Hells Angels bikie gang.
It is the first time police have used their new anti-bikie powers, which were given to them after a fatal brawl at Sydney Airport in 2009.
NSW Crime Command chief Dave Hudson says an application has been lodged with the Supreme Court to declare the Hells Angels a criminal organisation.
He says police are hoping to place control orders on about 50 of the gang's members.
"We are not saying that they are worse than other gangs, we are saying that the Hells Angels motorcycle club at this stage is the the club that we have approached the Supreme Court and lodged an application to declare [a criminal organisation], " he said.
Assistant Commissioner Hudson says the police had to do something about a group which mainly meets to engage in crime.
"It's serious criminal activity, which ranges from a wide variety of offences, all the way to illicit drug trafficking,' he said.
He says new legislation is there for a reason.
"It would have been irresponsible of the police not to utilise legislation that was available to us to try and control criminal organisations within New South Wales," he said.
A similar ban has been challenged in South Australia and police in NSW say they expect bikie gangs to challenge this application.
Turning up the heat
Outlaw motorcycle gangs are active across Australia and state and territory police have been turning up the heat in the last 18 months.
The groups are well organised and in many cases have good lawyers and so Assistant Commissioner Hudson says he will not be surprised if there is a big fight in the courts.
"We expect that there may be some challenges, or that not everybody's going to be happy with the action we've taken today; we're prepared for that," he said.
The United Motorcycle Council is made up of 18 motorcycle clubs, including the Hells Angels.
The Council's spokesman is a heavily tattooed bikie who goes by the name Ferret. He says they will be fighting the NSW Police application all the way to the High Court.
"We also want people to know that it's the taxpayer that will be fighting against [it]. It'll be their money the Government uses when we fight the law," he said.
Ferret says the United Motorcycle Council is against the law because it can be used against anyone in New South Wales.
"I'm not a member of the Hells Angels, so I can't speak for them," he said.
"What United Motorcycle Council's doing is standing up for everyone in New south Wales, because if everyone in New South Wales reads this legislation, they'll understand that the law can be enacted against any person in this state, not just motorcycle club members.
"The Council's been together, we've been waiting for a club to be declared and if the Government was to declare it, then the Motorcycle Council will back that club."
Ferret says police have been talking up the action they have been taking against bikie gangs.
"We believe that the police are using over-inflated figures to try and impress the public that they're doing a good job," he said.
"When we have United Motorcycle Council meetings, we get together and we put our hands up and go round the room and say how many people have been arrested that week in their club."
He says the United Motorcycle Council's figures are much lower than police figures.
"Police are arresting people and saying they're members or associates of outlaw motorcycle clubs, when in the majority of the time they're not," he said.
Ferret says the group already has legal counsel to help them in their fight.
"We already have a criminal barrister who sits on the United Motorcycle Council with us and we've been learning from him as we go," he said.
The United Motorcycle Council is not alone in objecting to the state's relatively new anti-outlaw bikie legislation.
The retiring Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Nick Cowdery, has described the law as excessive.
Police want Hells Angels declared criminal group
July 06, 2010
THE New South Wales Police Force has applied to the Supreme Court to have the Hells Angels motorcycle gang declared a criminal organisation.
The action follows the
passing in state parliament in April of new laws allowing a
Supreme Court judge to make such declarations against outlaw
Police made the first application under the law to the court today.
"This is a significant step for the NSW Police Force in our continued effort to prevent criminal activity by outlaw motorcycle gang members and to target their criminal enterprises," gangs squad commander detective superintendent Mal Lanyon said.
"Through this first
declaration application, police have today taken the first
step in utilising the powers provided under the new
legislation," Detective Superintendent Lanyon said.
The application was prepared by the Criminal Organisation Unit attached to the Gangs Squad, and involved comprehensive investigation, evidence and legal work.
"I am satisfied that a professional and thorough application has been presented to the Supreme Court today," he said.
"Illegal activity committed by outlaw motorcycle gangs will not be tolerated by the NSW Police Force and as such the Gangs Squad, Strike Force Raptor, and other areas of the NSW Police Force will continue to target all levels of criminal activity," Det Supt Lanyon said.
Commander of the state crime command, Assistant Commissioner Dave Hudson said the new Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act had given police a powerful tool to deal with gangs involved in criminal activity.
"Disrupting, restricting and dismantling outlaw motorcycle gang criminal enterprise is a continued priority for the NSW Police Force."
Comment is being sought from bikie gangs.