Zero tolerance for bikie violence: Minister

September 29, 2013 – 12:01AM

Cameron Atfield

Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist

May the Fords be with you

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey Photo: Bridie Jabour

The Queensland government has vowed to throw whatever resources are necessary to the Gold Coast in a zero-tolerance approach to the region’s rampant violent crime.

The visible presence of the police will ramp up as of Saturday night, with at least 10 crews patrolling the tourist strip.

The move comes in response to a violent and brazen bikie brawl in the Broadbeach restaurant strip on Friday night, which saw 18 arrests and a number of injuries to police.

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey Photo: Bridie Jabour

It also follows a number of high-profile shootings on the Gold Coast.

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Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said he was deeply concerned by Friday night’s violence.

“The most concerning aspect of that was the fact they were prepared to wear their colours in open view in a public place, (and) then follow up by going to the police station, to Southport watchhouse, to try to protest the fact that members of their club had been arrested,” he said.

“…Police will not be intimidated by these people – they will do their job.”

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said he had directed Mr Stewart to use any resources available to stem the tide of violence.

“From now on, police will be knocking in their door. Police will be stopping them on the sides of the roads and pulling them out of their vehicles and stopping their bikes,” he said.

“Police will now be ensuring they will not be able to bring pain and suffering to the streets of the Gold Coast and police will also be pulling people who exhibit violent behaviour, or have anything to do with drugs or guns, and ripping them from their restaurants and their hidey-holes in the Gold Coast area.”

Mr Stewart said he would not go into specifics, citing operational concerns, but said it would include measures like extra police on the ground and additional funding for overtime.

‘‘Certainly, they have provided that assurance that we will have the material and the people to do the job,’’ he said.

“In the near term, what that means is as of (Saturday) afternoon we will have extra police on the Gold Coast from the southeast area. We will do that tonight (Saturday) and we will ramp that up over coming days.

“Ultimately, it is my hope that we will be able to establish a hub policing facility on the Gold Coast where we will have a standing task force, intelligence-led, to deal with any criminal behaviour but particularly anti-social and violent crime in that area.”

Mr Dempsey said the government had pledged 100 new police officers for the Gold Coast over four years during the election campaign – a target that had already been surpassed, with 137 new officers in the region.

But Mr Dempsey denied the government had underestimated the resources required.

Witnesses of Friday night’s brawl told police dozens of Bandidos members, dressed in full colours, descended on Broadbeach, apparently searching for a rival club member.

Diners said a fight erupted when they found the man, followed by another when police arrived.

Tasers were reportedly used to subdue some of the bikies who were taken to the lock-up .

During the incidents, three men received minor injuries requiring treatment at the Gold Coast Hospital.

Four police also sustained injuries but did not require medical treatment.

A total of 18 people were charged with offences including public nuisance, assault, obstruct police, assault police, disorderly on licensed premises and an unrelated stealing matter.

At the height of the incidents, police from Logan and specialist units from Brisbane were also called in.

Brisbane Times

Jack Dempsey defends taxpayer-funded trip

July 20, 2013 – 12:01AM

Amy Remeikis

The Minister for Police Jack Dempsey.

The Minister for Police Jack Dempsey. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

“As discussed, the Min is going to be in Cairns on a personal trip this weekend.

“Is there a quick event we can throw together for this?”

An advisor for police minister Jack Dempsey asked a staffer at police headquarters to “throw together” an official event during Mr Dempsey’s pre-arranged personal trip to north Queensland in May last year.

The switch from a personal to an official reason meant Mr Dempsey could pay for the trip using his government travel allowance.

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Mr Dempsey had arranged to travel to Cairns for a private matter on the weekend of May 26-27 2012. The email shows his office then made that trip official by arranging events related to his portfolio.

Mr Dempsey, who represents Bundaberg, had been sworn in to Premier Campbell Newman’s cabinet just one month before the May 2012 email was sent, replacing David Gibson after he was sacked from the role.

The police headquarters media staffer responded to the email by alerting Mr Dempsey’s office to a series of external police blogs which were due to be rolled out in the near future.

Mr Dempsey then announced he would be in Cairns to “meet with emergency services and police chiefs, the local LNP member and local tourism operators to discuss crime and emergency services issues in the Far North”.

Mr Dempsey’s ministerial travel records show he booked flights to the region using his ministerial services travel account.

The issue was raised during an estimates hearing on Thursday night, when opposition MP Bill Bryne asked Mr Dempsey if he had instructed his staff “to prepare or have a professional reason” for the trip.

Mr Dempsey said he could not recall specific dates.

Government MP and committee chair Ian Berry dismissed the question as not related to budget estimates and Mr Dempsey was not required to answer.

Mr Dempsey’s office denied a reason had been manufactured for the trip and said rising crime issues in Cairns had made the trip necessary.

“Originally the Minister was going to Cairns on a personal matter but this quickly evolved as the week progressed,” a spokesman for Mr Dempsey said.

His office gave a list of Mr Dempsey’s official events that weekend, which was his first visit to the region as minister.

“In between meetings, Mr Dempsey managed to spend a very short period with his young son,” his spokesman said.

Mr Dempsey said it was “incumbent on me as a Minister for Police and Community Safety” that he keep in “constant touch with emergency staff in the region” and had visited eight times during his time as minister to discuss matters relating to his portfolio.

Brisbane Times