Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Gold Coast bikie gangs avoid police raids

IT has been two years, 10 months, and 14 days since police last raided any of the eight bikie clubhouses on the Gold Coast. That is 1049 days -- 149 weeks -- since police attempted to strike the gangs in the heart of their organisations. Even senior police officers are shocked it has been so long since they tackled the bikies head-on at their clubhouses. The last time was on June 18, 2009, when the Nomads clubhouse at Worongary was raided. Three men were arrested after Gold Coast detectives hit the club in the dawn raid, seizing drugs, weapons and ammunition. While there have been long-term operations targeting the gangs, none has involved taking on the headquarters of the bikies. With eight outlaw gang clubhouses within the Gold Coast city limits, critics say it is time the highly fortified buildings were hit. The Queensland Police Union said the public needed to see police tackle the gangs head-on -- particularly after the double shooting at Robuna Town Centre on Saturday. A Victorian man was arresovercast night over the shooting and faces extradition to Queensland. Union president Ian Leavers said it was time the management of the South East Police Region supported troops when it came to the bikie war. "Police need to have the resources and the support to tackle the bikie menace," Mr Leavers said. "What the public need to see right now is police out there tackling this problem. They need to see police hitting the bikies hard." Senior police also said it was time police went "on the front foot". "That is a ridiculous amount of time for the bikies to be left to their own devices in the clubhouses," one officer said. "Almost three years is simply unacceptable. We need to be out there turning these people over and making life uncomfortable for them to do business. "It's more than listening to a telephone intercept. They need to be winning the war in the eyes of the public so that people feel safe. "Right now, the public does not see police actually doing very much at all, other than holding press conferences." Serving police pointed to the recent Hells Angels National Run, when more than 200 patched members of the gang descended on the Gold Coast. While police monitored every stage of the run, enforcement was kept to traffic tickets. "They actually asked for extra police to monitor the bikies and give them jaywalking tickets if they crossed the road at the wrong time," the officer said. "Jaywalking tickets -- that's hardly tackling the outlaw gangs. "It's a joke."

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