THE myth that motorcycle gangs are law-abiding groups with “a few bad apples” has been shattered by research showing clubs are lairs for our very worst criminals.
More than 70 per cent of members of some bikie clubs have serious criminal convictions for everything from murder to theft, extortion and drug trafficking.
Nearly half of all members of the top 19 violent outlaw gangs had convictions for serious crimes, police researchers found.
The statistics do not include petty crimes or traffic offences.
The findings debunk the popular misconception that bikies are unfairly targeted by police, said Deputy Commissioner Brett Pointing, the head of Operation Resolute.
The Bandidos (72 per cent) Lone Wolf (71 per cent) and The Hells Angels (55 per cent) had the highest number of convicted criminals.
Police said they conducted the research for fear they were losing the propaganda war after the introduction of the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment laws by the Newman Government.
The findings, released exclusively to The Courier-Mail, will be an embarrassment to civil libertarians and the Labor Party that seeks to wind back the tough new laws.
Senior police commissioned the research after becoming infuriated at some commentary suggesting the number of criminals in motorcycle gangs was “no different to a fishing or football club”.
Bikies have 30 times more criminals in their gangs than the number of criminals in the general community.
The harsh reality of the members of some of our more notorious bikie gangs.
Mr Pointing said the number of bikies in Queensland had doubled in the past seven years – and so had drug crimes.
“Recent arrests support the statistics and have made a mockery of the claims outlaw motorcycle gangs do not have criminal activity as their core reason for being,’’ he said.
“The many recreational motorcycle groups in Queensland are lawful – it is unfair on those groups to be used as pawns in the PR spin which some groups have peddled in an attempt to deflect attention from the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“The statistics show criminal motorcycle gangs impact on the quality of life of innocent Queenslanders in a large and significant way.
“Criminal motorcycle gangs have grown by more than 50 per cent in the past seven years – this has coincided with the rise in illicit drug use in our state.
“It is these drugs that impact on the innocent lives of our sons and daughters, families and friends, and many of the arrests of criminal motorcycle gang members have been for drug trafficking.
“We have to acknowledge that traditional methods could not halt the growth in criminal motorcycle gang activity and we are now at the crossroads.
“We can risk returning to the past – or we can maintain this current course and ensure a safe and secure community for all Queenslanders.”
Mr Pointing (right) said Queenslanders deserved to “go out in public without fear of intimidation by gangs’’.
A total of 866 criminal motorcycle gang participants have been prosecuted on 1986 charges since the crackdown.
A total of 679 charges have been finalised.