Outlaw motorcycle gangs are the target of new consorting laws to be introduced in Parliament this week which will give Victoria Police stronger powers to target criminal networks.
Attorney-General Martin Pakula today outlined a new offence of ‘unlawful association’, which will prohibit convicted criminals from repeatedly associating with others so as to maintain and expand their criminal networks.
The Criminal Organisations Control Amendment (Unlawful Associations) Bill 2015 aims to prevent crime by limiting the ability of criminal gangs, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, to recruit new members and maintain existing members.
The new offence carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a $54,600 fine for people who repeatedly associate with serious convicted offenders after being warned by police.
The amendment addresses gaps in the current offence of consorting by providing clarity as to whom the offence applies, and by allowing Victoria Police to issue warnings to people against further unlawful associations.
Giving police the powers to disrupt these criminal gangs is also key to disrupting the supply of ice, with evidence from the Australian Crime Commission showing outlaw motorcycle gangs play a prominent role in Australia’s methamphetamine market.
The Andrews Labor Government has worked closely with Victoria Police in boosting these powers. These laws will help to ensure that Victoria does not become an attractive target for members of outlaw motorcycle gangs seeking to avoid new laws introduced interstate.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula
“These anti-consorting reforms give police the powers they need to disrupt and dismantle criminal gangs.”
“Crime gangs are becoming more sophisticated, they’re recruiting new members online and on social media. They are a risk to public safety and cogs in the network of misery that puts ice and other drugs on our streets.”
“These new laws will ensure our state is well-prepared to deal with the forms of organised crime facing us in 2015. We will find them out, stop them in their tracks and keep Victorians safe.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020