With deadline for the review of Qld's VLAD anti-bikie laws fast approaching, it seems there is still room for alarmist reporting.
On the weekend readers were told that Qld's bikie taskforce, Taskforce Maxima, had been reduced in number. This is hardly surprising following the criticism of the Qld Commission in Organised Crime that suggested other areas, such as fraud and child abuse had suffered with insufficient resource allocation. As Commissioner Stewart noted this week.
As a result of the findings of the Byrne report and the commitment of extra funds by the government, the QPS is also increasing its capability to fight paedophilia and boiler room fraud activities specifically linked to organised criminal gangs including OMCGs," he said.

Given that bikies commit only .17% of reported Qld Crime it was inevitable that the of the hundreds officers initially tasked with nothing but policing the bikies some would have to return to other duties.
Taskforce Maxima was downsized to 85 members over the Christmas break and bikie gangs have brazenly re-emerged in club colours on the Gold Coast –
We were told that bikies were now wearing colours again in public. This statement is interesting because even under the VLAD laws it has never been an offence to wear colours in public. There are restrictions in relation to licensed venues, but there are no restrictions in relation to public places.
The claim was also made that the VLAD laws were responsible for the overall reduction in Qld's reported crime.
The disruption of the criminal gangs has led to a dramatic reduction in street violence, house breaking and car theft, and has prompted legendary crimebuster Bob Bottom to declare Maxima the most successful police operation in Australian history.
The declaration of success seems a bit premature . In the two years that the VLAD laws have been in existence no -one has been convicted under the association laws, in every prosecution to reach the trial phase the matters have failed. Hardly a success you would think. The QPS in its submission to the Taskforce acknowledges the issues with the legislation.
Indeed the QPS identified the lack of evidence for association arrests in the high profile case of librarian Sally Kuether.
Further to this only 20 bikies have been charged under the mandatory sentencing provisions of the VLAD laws, again hardly a game changer you would think. An extract from the QPS submission to the taskforce is below.
Interestingly, in linking the VLAD law to overall crime trends reductions in 2013/2014, no attempt was made to explain the increase in Qld crime in 2014/2015, despite the VLAD laws still being in place. What is does highlight is how the VLAD laws can in no way be held responsible for any increase or decrease in the Qld overall crime rate, in that respect they are simply irrelevant.
In late 2015 when the effect of the VLAD laws on overall crime was put to the Qld Police Commissioner, Ian Stewart, he had this to say.
...Commissioner Ian Stewart was asked if the VLAD laws had an impact on crime rates, at a press conference with current Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller. "I can't answer that question specifically," he responded. "The VLAD Laws have not been used very often, although we have invoked them. They are the laws of this state and we will continue to use whatever lawful means we have to take action against organised crime, including outlaw motorcycle gangs.
We are told that the VLAD mandatory sentencing provisions are essential in combating crime and getting criminals to inform on their networks of associates. As of June 2015 only one VLAD matter had been finalised before the courts. Further to this only eight offenders provided statements informing on their criminal networks, 92% of those charged under VLAD did not.

We are also told that the submissions have not been made public due to:
...possible political interference leading up to the release next month of a secret review of anti-bikie laws by a panel chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson.
The submissions have not been made public
In fact  many of the submissions are publicly available and can be accessed here.
With the deadline for review approaching we need policy decisions made by a rational debate based on an evidence, not alarmist reporting.