Police ready to use new bikie laws

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Police ready to use new bikie laws

The West Australian Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian



WA Police have selected the first target organisation of landmark anti-association laws designed to "crack the back" of bikie gangs.

Legal and law enforcement communities have been keenly awaiting the first application under the Criminal Organisation Control Act, which passed Parliament in November 2012 and took a further year to proclaim.

Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Brown yesterday told a parliamentary Budget estimates hearing that a dedicated unit headed by an inspector had begun operations.

"We have identified a candidate or a target to pursue under the auspices of this legislation as the initial piece of work that we do," he said.

Under the legislation, police can apply for a Supreme Court judge to declare an organisation criminal.

Once declared, members could face control orders banning them from associating, going to certain places and even wearing their gang colours.

Penalties range from two years jail for breaching a control order to 20 years jail for instructing an offence to the benefit of a criminal organisation

Also in yesterday's hearing, Police Minister Liza Harvey came under fire from the Opposition over the Liberals' $13.5 million 2013 election promise for more CCTV cameras.

Just $200,000 was in last year's Budget and $1.3 million has been allocated to the promise this financial year, with no money allocated in future years.

Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts accused the Government of preying on voters' security fears with a hollow promise.

Mrs Harvey said the Government had until 2017 to fulfil its commitments.

Former police minister Rob Johnson accused the Government of breaking his 2008 election promise to recruit 500 police and auxiliary officers. The final 100 officers will be recruited by June 30 but Mr Johnson said his promise was to have the officers in place within five years.

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