THE Hunter’s anti-bikie squad has begun to flex its muscles, taking 18 guns off the streets and warning at least 15 gang members and associates they face criminal charges if they continue to socialise together.
And senior police have warned the hardline approach to the region’s bikie community by the Hunter’s own Strike Force Raptor unit would be ramped up in the next six weeks.
The regional crime squad was set up last month following an increase in tensions between certain bikie gangs following a spike in “patch overs” and in-house squabbling which had the potential to turn publicly violent.
The Hunter’s strike force has handed out just three of a planned 28 firearm prohibition orders, already seizing 18 guns from members of the Finks and Rebels gangs as well as their partners, flatmates and relatives at Rutherford, Cessnock and Cliftleigh.
The orders allow police to take guns from registered owners whom they believe are not fit to hold a gun licence, and the power to continue stopping and searching them without a search warrant.
And with 15 bikie gang members and associates already warned about consorting – where they can face criminal charges if they continue to meet or communicate – the region’s bikie hierarchy are believed to be feeling the added pressure.
“We make no apology for the increased enforcement,’’ Northern Region operations manager Detective Inspector Greg Thomas said. “The pressure will continue as the operation continues for at least the next six weeks.’’
Fairfax Media revealed last month the number of “patch overs” to the Finks bikie gang from rival organisations including former members of the Nomads, Comanchero and Life And Death gangs.
It included one instance where a former member of the Comanchero cut off a facial tattoo which read CFFC – Comanchero Forever Forever Comanchero.
Detective Inspector Thomas said Strike Force Raptor officers were planning on handing out at least another 25 firearm prohibition orders across the Hunter, although it is unclear how many guns may be confiscated.