Serious bikie and criminal gang violence in Canberra is increasing, with police arresting nine people for gang-related assaults last year.
Police also charged 16 gang members with a total of 39 offences against good order, the highest number in four years.
Curiously, gang-related drug offences and arrests were well down on previous years, with just five drug offences reported to police in 10 months last year. This was half the rate reported in 2017, and well down on preceding years.
However, this does not include a November raid on a Monash home in which the police anti-bikie task force seized cocaine with a street value of $100,000, and a later search of an Isabella Plains home which resulted in the seizure of 130 grams of crystal meth worth $52,000. Arrests were made after the execution of both search warrants.
Concerned about the rising tide of gang-related offences, ACT Policing formed the bikie-busting Task Force Nemesis in late 2014 specifically to provide a similar focus on bikie-related crime to that delivered by Strike Force Raptor in NSW.
Since then, bikie arrests and charges across the ACT have been steadily increasing, as would be expected with a dedicated police focus.
There were 35 gang-related arrests in total over 10 months in 2018, according to police statistics.
This was three more arrests than were made in the full year of 2017, but a drop from the 45 recorded in 2016.
From its modest beginnings in 2014, Task Force Nemesis has received a steady increase in funding.
The biggest funding boost came in August 2016, when it received a dedicated $6.4 million from the ACT government and appointed eight additional staff, including investigators and intelligence officers.
A forensic accountant was also added, leading to fraud charges against bikie gang members more than doubling from 28 in 2015 to 58 in 2016.
In 2016-17, Task Force Nemesis received a further funding boost of $1.282 million, and another $1.593 million in the 2017-18 police budget.
One of Canberra's most respected senior detectives has led the local task force since it began, bucking the customary police management policy of rotating its investigators between team leader roles every two to three years.
Gang-related violence has become an increasing issue in Canberra as a result of legal differences between the ACT and NSW.
The police union has warned that the ACT community will pay the price for the government failing to fall in step with NSW anti-consorting laws, which prevent bikies riding and gathering together in large groups.
The ACT has fiercely resisted, claiming anti-consorting laws disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without a measurable crime prevention benefit.
However, the number of assault charges laid last year (20) against bikie gang members, as opposed to the number of arrests (9), indicates that among the gang members there is is a cohort ready to inflict violence on others.
An ongoing issue for police has been the rising conflict between rival bikie gangs for a share of the lucrative Canberra market. For many years Canberra was a one-gang town, an unthreatened outpost of the Rebels, widely regarded as the largest bikie gang in Australia.
However, the pressure exerted by interstate anti-consorting laws and a more intense focus by Queensland and NSW police resulted in interstate gangs such as the Comancheros, Nomads and Finks establishing ACT chapters, the head of ACT Policing's crime team Scott Moller admitted last year.
In August last year, the Nomads famously posted a photograph on social media of the gang posing on Mt Ainslie.
Tit-for-tat violence and drive-by shootings, once a rarity in the national capital, have become commonplace in the past 18 months as the gangs attempt to expand their chapters here and prevent others from doing the same.