A criminologist says Queensland’s bikie laws are “draconian”, ineffective and have been a public relations disaster.
A former policeman-turned-academic says statistics show Queensland’s draconian anti-bikie laws are failing.
Bond University criminologist Terry Goldsworthy’s analysis of Queensland’s new Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws suggests the bikie threat may not be as bad as the state government has made out.
Dr Goldsworthy says bikies have only accounted for 0.06 per cent of reported assaults since the laws were introduced in October until December last year, with the majority of bikie-related arrests involving low-level street offences.
He says that number would likely be even lower if police did not lump bikies and their associates in the same arrest categories.
Dr Goldsworthy says police seized about $200,000 worth of drugs during the period.
By dividing the total by the number of people arrested, Dr Goldsworthy shows the average participant would have earned $260 per month, or “hardly the stuff high rollers are made of”.
“So where are the organised profits we are told about?” he wrote on The Conversation website.
The former detective was also critical of the amount of police resources being spent on ensuring bikies do not gather together in groups.
The only high-profile cases so far involve a family meeting for beers in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast and some visiting bikies from Victoria buying ice cream on the Gold Coast.
“In short it was been a public relations disaster for the government and may explain why we have seen an absence of senior politicians beating the war drums,” he said.
“All of these arrests have involved substantial planning and policing resources, the public are right to ask (whether) they (are) getting bang for their buck and would the police be better employed actually targeting criminal enterprise rather than beers and ice cream.”
Dr Goldsworthy said he was involved with a bikie incident between the Hells Angels and Finks gangs in 2006 that left three people shot and two stabbed.
There was no need for “draconian laws” then, he said.
“The heavens did not collapse nor did society stop functioning,” he said.
“Rather investigators used the traditional tools at their disposal and conducted investigations and brought the offenders to justice.”
Dr Goldsworthy said: “a change in investigative and policy strategy is called for, the sooner the better”.