Bleijie takes focus off 'everyday' motorcycle riders
POLICE enforcing the state government's anti-association laws are set to turn their attention away from motorcycle riders and focus more strongly on criminal organisations.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he expected the focus of his anti-crime laws to "ease off" on checking the credentials of ordinary people who happen to ride big motorbikes and shift more to gathering intelligence information about "bad criminals" and criminal organisations.
"I think what you'll find is the public response by the police in terms of making sure people are not gathering in public places who are members or participants of organisations, I think you'll find that will ease off now," Mr Bleijie said.
The move follows months of controversy as police used the anti-crime laws to justify stopping and questioning thousands of riders on suspicion of being members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The most infamous was the case of Jamie Edwards, a member of a social motorcycle club, who was pulled over at a Beenleigh service station on January 11, and questioned by at least six officers in four marked patrol cars.
He was not charged with any offence and police commissioner Ian Stewart later apologised over the incident.
Mr Bleijie suggested those sorts of incidents would now be reduced.
"I think what happened with the police interventions on our streets had to happen, and I always said there'd have to be a level of inconvenience.
"But I do thank legitimate motorcycle riders for their patience during this time.
"I think, as a natural course of events, now the police are used to the legislation, I think we will naturally see less focus will be on the public domain and more now will be on gathering more intelligence on the bad criminals."
Changes to the Criminal Code make it illegal for members of declared criminal organisations - which includes many motorcycle clubs - to gather in groups of more than three in public.
Since the new laws came into effect in October 27, people from criminal motorcycle gangs have been arrested on the Sunshine Coast on 59 charges - including assault, robbery, drugs and offences against police.
Across the state, 565 participants and associates have been arrested on 1219 charges, including extortion and violence offences.