Fight over laws linking bikie gangs to organised crime

AS DEBATE escalated in NSW Parliament ranks on Monday over tough new legislation targeting organised crime, 14 people arrested during a weekend police crackdown on public shootings fronted court.

By night time Police Minister Mike Gallacher was still attempting to push legislation, which will give NSW judges the same powers as their Queensland colleagues to label bikie gangs as criminal organisations, through the Upper House.

The move was criticised by the NSW Greens and Labor MLC's but Mr Gallacher told members the civil rights of bikies was not more important than the civil rights of the community.

If passed, organisations accused of criminal activity could be subject to control orders which prevent members from association with each other and from holding firearms and liquor licences.

On the weekend more than 150 police officers swamped Sydney's western suburbs where organised crime has spiralled out of control.

Arrests were made over breaches of bail, drug possession and drink driving and several warnings were given for consorting.

Since Operation Apollo was set up in February 2010 to target organised crime, more than 100 people have been arrested, 220 charges have been laid and 60 firearms recovered.

At the time of going to press the Criminal Organisations Control Bill had not passed.



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