Police deny claims bikies are moving over the NSW border
TWEED Police have issued a statement from the NSW Police Force which dismisses claims that bikies are increasingly travelling over to the NSW border from Queensland.
Acting deputy commissioner Geoff McKechnie said aerial footage and photographs supplied the Queensland media this week were evidence of the close surveillance of bikie groups by police, 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.
McKechnie said bikie club houses in northern NSW are not new establishments, set up in response to changing laws in the sunny state.
"No question, there are bikie chapters in northern NSW. But they were there well before legislative change in Queensland and they are heavily targeted.
"Importantly, there's no evidence their numbers are growing through any influx from Queensland. That's a myth," he said.
McKechnie said the Rebels chapter in Ballina was hardly new and it had been heavily targeted by NSW Police.
"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.
McKechnie reassured residents that the Queensland and NSW Police were monitoring bikie activity through a dedicated taskforce.
"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 5000 charges, arrested 2300 people, seized more than 600 weapons, nearly $4 million in cash as well as a significant quantity of drugs.
Strike Force Raptor has targeted a raft of bikie premises and clubhouses in the state's north coast. In late October Raptor targeted 33 premises alone.
"It can hardly be said NSW Police are lacking traction when it comes to tackling bikie related crime."