Thursday, 26 June 2014

Gold Coast bikie gangs out of control,

A GOLD Coast ex-top cop turned criminologist has slammed what he says is a lack of tough action against outlaw motorcycle gangs. Terry Goldsworthy, a former detective inspector in charge of Burleigh Heads CIB who is now associate professor in criminology at Bond University, said bikies needed to be shown "they don't run this town". His comments follow more bikie violence on the Glitter Strip, including last weekend's brawl at Coolangatta which left a 61-year-old bystander in hospital and Tuesday's wild rampage through Southport in which a taxi was shot up, a milk truck hijacked and crashed and a bus driver assaulted. Trainee bikie bailed over brawl Bikie declared 'too violent' for court Dr Goldsworthy, who finished his 28-year police career last year with the Ethical Standards Command, said senior police had their "heads in the sand" and were not going after bikies as hard as they should. He said they should have zero tolerance of gang members and be actively targeting them, but were instead reactive. "Public perception is a key indicator for any police service and the perception is growing within the Gold Coast community that these bikies aren't being dealt with,'' he said "The bikies need to be shown they don't run this town and they are subject to the laws of Queensland.'' South Eastern police region Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders this week trumpeted bikie arrest figures, saying more than 400 had been nabbed on almost 1100 charges including murder, serious assault and weapons possession since January last year. "The persistence and determination of police, to ensure OMCG members and associates are held accountable for their actions, is relentless,'' he said. But Dr Goldsworthy said police could be doing much more, including targeting bikie clubhouses that had not been raided in several years. He said Coast police had the manpower and resources to tackle the gangs but there was "a lack of leadership". "You could together put a taskforce of 20 officers in an hour dedicated solely to crack down on the [outlaw motorcycle gangs],'' he said. "You could have [random breath and drug testing] and liquor licensing operations targeting their clubhouses of a weekend. "It's all about leadership and the use of resources. The poor constables out on the road need someone to tell them 'We want you to target the bikies and this is how we're going to do it'.'' Dr Goldsworthy questioned whether Leonard Toalei, the Bandidos bikie accused of Tuesday's Southport rampage, was under surveillance after being released on parole in January. "You have to question if the local CIBs are liaising with probation and parole officers to identify high-risk releasees,'' he said. Dr Goldsworthy also said Mr Rynders was "playing semantics" with his assertion that the latest bikie violence was carried out by gang associates acting as individuals. "Bikie gangs are very hierarchical and while the senior members might not be telling associates and nominees to go out and play up, they're tacitly condoning the behaviour,'' he said. "They (senior members) certainly are not going to be ringing up and saying 'top that naughty behaviour'. The guys that are out there carrying out the violence are doing so under their gang brand.''

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