NSW police will have tougher laws at their disposal when dealing with outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members in the Tweed after new legislation passed the NSW Parliament last month.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said that since coming to government in 2011, the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has passed laws to increase police powers to respond to OMCGs and protect our communities.
“NSW now has the toughest anti-consorting and restricted premises laws in the country,” Mr Speakman said.
“Under the previous Labor Government, laws weren’t as strong and the Police weren’t as well equipped to respond to bikies with around 65 stations closed and Police numbers fluctuating with the election cycle.
“In contrast, we’ve worked closely with the NSW Police Force and implemented the recommendations of the Ombudsman’s report on the Restricted Premises Act in forming this legislative framework.”
The Criminal Legislation Amendment (Consorting and Restricted Premises) Act 2018 provides police executing a search warrant at a declared premises with clear powers to:
- search a person who they reasonably suspect to be in possession of an item mentioned in the warrant;
- compel any person to reveal their name and address; and
- compel people present at the venue to move on.
At the request of the NSW Police Force, the Act also strengthens our consorting laws so that police can issue warnings for consorting in respect of offences committed in other states and territories that would have been an indictable offence had it been committed in NSW. This is critical when dealing with bikie gangs with a national presence.
These powers are additional to a range of other tough measures available to police to target outlaw bikie crime in NSW, including:
- Serious Crime Prevention Orders – to impose restrictions on people to disrupt their involvement in serious criminal activity.
- Public Safety Orders – to prevent people from attending places or events where they are expected to engage in violence or present a serious threat to public safety or security.
- Consorting laws – which carry a maximum three year prison term for people who continue to associate with convicted offenders after receiving an official warning from Police.
- Unexplained wealth laws – which place a burden on suspects to prove their income was lawfully acquired.
- Firearm Prohibition Orders – allowing Police to search, without warrant, premises or vehicles occupied by anyone subjected to the order to ensure compliance.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said OMCG members are having a miserable time in NSW, but are using the inconsistency in laws along state borders to push the envelope when it comes to crime.
“Police in the Tweed-Byron Police District do a phenomenal job keeping these troublemakers at bay and their activities to a minimum,” Mr Provest said.
“We make no apology for making it tough for outlaw motorcycle gangs to pursue criminal activities in NSW, and if we need to do more, we will.”
Under these new laws, failure to comply with a direction will be punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 months and a maximum fine of $5,500. Failure to provide a name and address, or providing a false name or address, will be punishable by a fine of up to $1,100.