Monday, 30 April 2012

EVERY bikie in New South Wales can expect a police officer to knock on their front door before the week is out.

That's the promise the state's Assistant Police Commissioner Frank Mennilli made to gang members following a three-day "in your face" sting which resulted in more than 500 arrests. Taking direction from detectives attached to Operation Spartan, more than 3000 NSW police officers hit businesses and homes linked to bikie and street gangs on the weekend. Drugs, firearms and cash were seized. Of the 555 arrested, at least 100 were identified as gang members or associates. Mr Mennilli said "almost every" tattoo parlour in the state had a visit from their local police officers and the few which may have been left out would get the same treatment in the coming days. He said his aim was for every NSW resident identifying themselves as a gang member to get a knock on their door by the end of this week. "While we are proud of the arrests and charges laid at the weekend, it's the new intelligence that we have gathered that will most support the goals of Operation Spartan," Mr Mennilli said. "Every new piece of information we collect helps us to better understand these criminals, their gangs and their methodology, which is the key to dismantling and disrupting criminal activity. "We will not rest until we have all illegal firearms and weapons off our streets, and all the people involved in these crimes are found, locked up and put before a court." The operation coincided with escalating gang violence north of the border where a bikie and his partner were shot in a busy Gold Coast shopping centre. Mr Mennilli said while there was no evidence the violence in QLD was linked to the recent shootings in NSW, the pattern of gang related crime engulfing both states was symptomatic of a change in bikie culture. He said the traditional bikie code of conduct was being breached by a new breed of criminals infiltrating gangs and even "patching over" to rival gangs to gain more power on the streets. "If the current spike in crime was linked to (traditional) outlaw motorcycle gangs we would have stopped it by now," he said "These new people have no regard for the law or their community. "Many of these issues are domestic. "One dispute I dealt with recently was over a stolen trail bike. "We are dealing with some very petty issues." While he refused to speculate if the suspect in the Gold Coast shooting had flown in from Sydney, Mr Minnelli said "criminals don't know borders". When asked if he was offended by criticism from politicians including Shadow Police Minister Nathan Rees about the State Government's approach to the bikie conflict Mr Mennilli said "I would say to Mr Rees 'go and speak to the people we arrested on the weekend and ask them if we are serious'. "If they want to play political games - let them. "Just leave me to lock up the crooks."

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