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AUSTRALIA - Police ''in your face'' disruption tactic making bikies pay

Police have sought to keep bikies busy by watching their every move. Source: HWT Image Library

VICTORIAN bikies are being forced to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines as a result of the force's new get-tough approach.

Bikies are being regularly breath-tested, searched, stopped for traffic offences and busted for minor and major crimes.
Taskforce Echo started disrupting the lives of the 800 bikies - members of the 56 chapters of 24 Victorian bikie gangs - in March and has already:
SEIZED more than 50 firearms, including a mini sub-machinegun, shotguns and semi-automatic pistols.
RAIDED more than 50 bikie properties and laid dozens of charges relating to drug, violence and theft offences.
DEVELOPED information on which bikies do what, which gangs align themselves and which are bitter enemies.
Taskforce Echo began as a pilot program to see how effective the "in your face" disruption tactic would be.
Its life has been extended and police are planning more taskforces to crack down on other crime groups in a similar manner.
"It's about making sure that any area of criminality that bikies, or a bikie club, are involved with, whether it's driving without a licence or under the influence of drugs, they get tackled across the board all the time," Victoria Police crime department chief Graham Ashton said.
Mr Ashton said one plank of the disruption tactics was tracking down bikies for unpaid fines, which is bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"So the taxpayer recoups that money and it taps and saps the resources of the criminal group," he said.
"It's also another method of them knowing in their own minds that the days of them getting a fine and throwing it away because nobody would chase them for it are over ... it's going to bring police to their door."
Mr Ashton said intelligence gathered by Echo had enabled police to disrupt the recent planned run to Mildura by the notorious Rebels bikie gang. Police made life uncomfortable for them by subjecting riders to regular traffic blitzes.
"That's the message we want to send them: 'You aren't welcome in Victoria, keep going'," he said.
"It was intelligence from Echo which enabled us to know ahead of time what the Rebels were up to."

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