NSW Police have dismissed claims of a so-called ‘bikie migration’ into NSW from Queensland as a myth unsupported by evidence.
A video recorded by Queensland Polair and published on the Gold Coast Bulletin website on Tuesday contains footage of the Ballina-based Rebels motorcycle gang riding to Tweed Heads, wearing their full colours, for a meeting with the Queensland-based Odin’s Warriors on January 4.
But NSW acting deputy commissioner Geoff McKechnie denies the footage proves any kind of migration and says video is ‘evidence of the close scrutiny all police forces pay to bikie groups but nothing more’.
‘We are focused on the criminal activities of bikies. They are criminal groups involved in the illicit drug trade and other illegal activity and they are the subject of joint intelligence gathering by police agencies,’ he said.
‘No question, there are bikie chapters in northern NSW. But they were there well before legislative change in Queensland and they are heavily targeted.
The deputy commissioner said there was no evidence bikie numbers were growing through any influx from Queensland.
‘That’s a myth. We have been in the business of sorting out bikies for many years now.’
Mr McKechnie said Strike Force Raptor is Australia’s first standing strike force specifically targeting bikies.
‘In the past four years, it has laid more than 5,000 charges, arrested 2,300 people, seized more than 600 weapons, and nearly $4 million in cash as well as a significant quantity of drugs.’
He added that the Rebels chapter in Ballina is hardly new and has been heavily targeted by NSW police for some time.
‘The same applies to the Mongols and Odin’s Warriors. They are small chapters whose ranks have not grown.
‘There are lots of rumours, but police don’t rely on rumours – we rely on evidence and there is no evidence that bikie numbers in the north of this state are growing.’
Strike Force Raptor has targeted a raft of bikie premises and clubhouses on the state’s north coast. In late October alone Raptor targeted 33 premises.
‘It can hardly be said NSW Police are lacking traction when it comes to tackling bikie-related crime,’ the acting deputy commissioner said.