Inquiry finds a huge amount of resources were dedicated to policing VLAD laws.
Inquiry finds a huge amount of resources were dedicated to policing VLAD laws. Bev Lacey

Bikie focus let child porn market flourish, inquiry finds

THE Newman government's heavy focus on bikie gangs came at the expense of investigating the child pornography market and financial crime, an inquiry has found.

The Commission of Inquiry into organised crime in Queensland was led by Michael Byrne QC, who handed the report on its findings to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday.

The leading criminal law barrister made 43 recommendations in the report after a six-month probe that examined the scope and impact of organised crime in Queensland.

Mr Byrne said the huge amount of resources dedicated to the fight against bikies meant other crime including child exploitation, fraud and the drug trade could not be investigated appropriately.

The report noted that from October 2013 to June this year, outlaw motorcycle gang members accounted for only 0.52% of crime in Queensland.

Mr Byrne said there was a time when a 200-strong squad was investigating outlaw bikie gangs while other areas of organised crime had a handful of detectives.

These included the child exploitation material market, which he described as "endemic" in Queensland, and fraud.

For example, he said Queensland was the focus of "boiler room" financial scams but thousands of complaints could not be investigated because of lack of resources.

Mr Byrne said he was not there to criticise the police service and the strong argument put forward that the focus on outlaw gangs was in the interests of public safety.

"I would have thought the exploitation of vulnerable children was also a public safety issue," he said.

The Premier said the findings required swift action and she would meet with the Police Commissioner as soon as possible.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was "horrified" at the extent of the child exploitation market and there were not enough resources targeting that area.

"There is nothing more important than the protection of children," she said.

Shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said the LNP had taken strong and necessary steps to crack down on all criminal gangs, not just bikies, and the allocation of resources was a matter for police.

"We make no apologies for our focus on criminal gangs," Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker said the inquiry was conducted at great expense - about $6 million - and in secrecy as the public hearings did not go ahead.

He said the Opposition would look carefully at the report's recommendations.

Earlier, Mr Byrne said the public hearings for the inquiry did not eventuate for various reasons including the potential to expose people to risk and the potential to interfere with ongoing investigations.

The report on organised crime will be forwarded to the panel reviewing the controversial Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment laws.

- APN NEWSDESK

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