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Strike Force CRaptor model could go nationwide in bikie battle

LAWS to smash outlaw motorcycle gangs, based on Strike Force Raptor, could be introduced across the country in an unprecedented show of unity by national police leaders.

After years on the drawing board, a submission calling for every state and territory to have the same anti-bikie laws is expected to be made to state Attorneys-General next year.

The plan, to be modelled on successful operations such as Raptor and Task Force Maxima in Queensland, will highlight the most effective laws that have helped to curtail bikie activity in that state.

The move is partly in response to bikies moving into Tasmania and the ACT, where laws are more lax than their neighbours, after crackdowns in other states. “Recent events in Tasmania and Victoria have provided the impetus for a submission to be made,” one law enforcement official said.

The plan is still in its infancy and there was work to be done to get every police agency on board, ­another source said.

Strike Force Raptor broke the ­bikies in NSW by creating a hostile environment in which officers used everything, from minor vehicle ­defects to restricted premises legislation, to keep the pressure on the ­bikies’ way of life.

Police attempt to direct a member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club in Tasmania. Picture: Chris Kidd

It forced many club members to hang up their colours or take their business to more comfortable jurisdictions.

But inconsistencies between organised crime laws across the country have unwittingly created safe havens for OMGs.

While bikies can be charged for associating with criminals in NSW and Queensland, they can mingle with whoever they please in Tasmania. As a result, the island state is currently facing increasing gang ­activity, with the Bandidos trying to establish a foothold in Devonport.

Members of Bandidos and Rebels drink at the “Outlaws Elite” bar of the Rebels clubhouse.

About 200 club members will ­descend on Tasmania in a fortnight for the club’s national run. Last month, more than 400 Rebels members held a ride in Tasmania, finishing up in Hobart to mark the chapter’s 20th anniversary.

Police, with help from interstate gang squad officers, greeted the bikies as the Spirit of Tasmania vessel sailed into Devonport. Even the Australian Taxation Office turned up to hand assessment notices to 12 bikies.

“We had the Outlaws in October last year, the Rebels in October this year and Bandidos coming later this month,” Serious Organised Crime division Det Insp Greg Ball said.

“We haven’t had this number of national-type runs this close together before.” Insp Ball said Tasmanian police were looking at what organised crime laws had worked elsewhere to build their own case to the state government for tougher legislation.

Without states and territories ­referring their powers to the Commonwealth, the federal government cannot legislate criminal organisation laws, such as consorting or firearm prohibition orders.

A “nationally consistent app­roach” may mean governments can implement the same anti-gang laws.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government supported any effort to develop stronger legislative responses to the OMG threat.

“A nationally consistent legislative approach would complement Australia’s strong, ongoing law ­enforcement efforts to combat serious and organised crime,” he said.


Strike Force CRaptor is an elite militarised unit of the NSW Police

► CHAPTER ONE: Inside the squad that beat Sydney’s gangs

► CHAPTER TWO: The real-life police fight club

► CHAPTER THREE: The day bikies went too far

► CHAPTER FOUR: Bikie gangs: Warlords of the underworld