Canberra's bikie taskforce Nemesis receives $6.4 million boost

Canberra's bikie taskforce Nemesis receives $6.4 million boost

A police taskforce set up to stop Canberra's three outlaw motorcycle gangs becoming embroiled in a full-blown bikie war will receive an extra $6.4 million, the ACT government has announced.

An extra eight staff will be recruited for Taskforce Nemesis, which was set up in 2014 to curb illegal activity from outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell and Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell and Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers.Credit:Jay Cronan

Extra investigators, intelligence officers and a forensic accountant would be assigned to the taskforce to "disrupt" the "changing threat" outlaw motorcycle gangs posed in the territory, Attorney-General Simon Corbell said on Monday.

The multi-million dollar package was announced just weeks after the ACT government dropped anti-consorting laws that would have meant bikies who breached warnings not to associate with known criminals faced up to two years in jail.


But Mr Corbell warned the issue of anti-consorting laws was "not going to go away" and it was a "matter that will demand the attention of the next Legislative Assembly".

"It's very, very clear that we will need to continue to examine criminal law responses to organised crime in the city and that includes potential issues around consorting laws," Mr Corbell said.

"As I've said very clearly, the government will not introduce consorting legislation until we are satisfied that we've achieved the right balance between achieving human rights compliance and a mechanism that's able to be effectively deployed on the ground by police.

"For example, we will have to look further at models that were developed in Victoria which also has a human rights act and has anti-consorting laws that are human rights compliant, so we will need to do further work on that."

However, the ACT's Chief Police Officer Rudi Lammers said ACT Policing had sufficient powers to deal with outlaw motorcycle groups and organised crime groups.

He said the taskforce had brought almost 170 charges against close to 60 gang members since its inception.

"We have sufficient laws to target outlaw motorcycle gangs in the ACT. The ACT for a long time has had one outlaw motorcycle gang. We've reduced the numbers [of members] but we've not reduced the amount of groups here in Canberra," Mr Lammers said.

He said Taskforce Nemesis' capability would be more than doubled, thanks to the funding.

"This is the first time that we will have a dedicated criminal assets team within ACT Policing, it will be the first time we target the wealth of organised crime groups in this particular way," he said.

"We will be targeting the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs and serious organised crime groups around money laundering, unexplained wealth, drug use, drug trafficking and all other organised crime activities that are prevalent in Canberra."

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson welcomed the new funding, but described it as a "hypocritical" move from a government that had cut $13.5 million from the ACT Policing budget over four years.

Mr Hanson said police were stretched too thin, and the funding cuts had led to "real problems on the ground".

"It's pretty hypocritical to be stealing $13 million on the one hand, but only giving back $6 million in the other," Mr Hanson said.

Mr Corbell said none of the efficiency dividends had impacted the frontline capability of ACT Policing.

"ACT Policing, like any organisation funded by government, has had to find efficiencies and police at a national level has had a similar efficiency dividend imposed on it for more than a decade," Mr Corbell said.

"What's very clear, and as the Chief Police Officer has said at numerous estimates committee hearings, is otherwise that efficiency dividend has not impacted on frontline capability, it's been found on administrative savings, procurement savings and a range of other administrative savings."

ā€“ with Christopher Knaus

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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