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ACT anti-consorting laws ‘neccessary’, says police union

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Laws that would prevent known criminals from associating with one another are needed to stop outlaw motorcycle gangs, the federal police union says.

In welcoming a $6.4 million boost to the ACT police taskforce set up to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian Federal Police Association president Angela Smith said the tough but controversial measures put on hold by the ACT Government were "necessary" to fight crime carried out by bikie gangs.

"The additional $6.4 million of funding for Taskforce Nemesis to recruit an extra eight officers is a big step forward in combating outlaw motorcycle gangs and their illegal drug and firearms activities," Ms Smith said.

"The funding will help the police to keep the community safe. [The] introduction of consorting laws is necessary to have greater and more effective impact on combating illegal activity by outlaw motorcycle gangs."

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

Opposition leader Jeremy Hansen called the package "hypocritical", highlighting a $13.5 million cut to ACT Policing's budget over four years.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell defended the new funding, saying none of the "efficiency dividends" had impacted the "frontline capability" of ACT Policing.

However Ms Smith said police in the ACT were being "forced to do a lot more with a lot less" as a result of the cuts.

"Despite the smoke and mirrors with police numbers and crime statistics, frontline police and support staff have been reduced and are stretched thin across the ACT," Ms Smith said.

"The AFPA will be looking to see this reversed in the lead up to the election. Neither party is taking law and order seriously. The AFPA will be monitoring promises made by both parties in the lead up to the election to ensure police get the best outcome possible and community safety is not compromised."

Source: canberratimes.com.au
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