It’s all very well introducing the toughest laws in the Commonwealth to combat bikie gang criminality, but who is going to enforce them?

NSW Premier Nathan Rees and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh are lock-stepped in declaring zero tolerance of bikie gangs and proposing laws to make them banned organizations.

The problem is that the NSW and Queensland coppers are in no position to conduct “war” on bikies or any other form of organized crime.

Both forces have been shredded of experienced officers with the dedication and courage to meet the bikies head-on. Old-style coppering has not been in vogue for the past 10 years and the hard men and women have been shuffled off into early retirement.

The police forces in NSW and Queensland have become sheltered workshops for under-achieving people who yearn for a pubic service job with public service work routines and public service security, public service entitlements and superannuation.

The all-powerful police associations in NSW and Queensland, which stand over and terrify the Labor politicians in both States, ensure that police conditions are the best in the public sector.

Indeed, the rosters in NSW are so notoriously slack that many police use their days off to hold down a second job or run businesses which are in their wife’s or another relative’s name. Moonlighting in the private security industry is rife among serving police.

There is anecdotal evidence that some cops show up at work having just completed an overnight shift guarding factories and offices for private security firms. Others work at gyms and fitness centres, own diving businesses or work in the pub and club industry.

These are not men and women who are ready to meet the challenge of the bikies and their involvement in drug importation and distribution, protection, money-laundering, gun sales and settling scores by homicide.

The NSW rozzers have failed spectacularly to deal with the “Bra Boys”, the gang overlords in Maroubra, Bronte, Coogee and Bondi Junction, so there can be no confidence they will muscle up for the bikies.

Rees boasted in parliament yesterday: “These laws will give police the power to disrupt and ultimately dismantle bikie gangs.”

To do that he will need a team of dedicated, focused, trained and professional police officers who won’t take a step backwards in investigating and then prosecuting the hardened criminal element in the bikie community. He’d better send out a search party because there is no sign of them at headquarters.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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