Queensland’s outlaw motorcycle gang members are the target of an Australia-first program aimed at helping bikies seeking a way out of their lawless lifestyle.
Queensland Police Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll yesterday (Thursday 5 February) launched “The Exit Program’’ to help former outlaw motorcycle gang members maintain lasting lives away from their respective notoriously patched-over pack.
Commissioner Carroll said the program was an initiative of the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Corrective Services for adult ex-gang members to access tailored support services including drug and alcohol issues, employment and training, mentoring, family relationships and mental health.
The program launch coincided with the release of two videos revealing the truth about associating with OMCGs, as told by former gang members and families.
The OMCG members featured in the videos talk about how they and their families continue to live with the consequences of their choice to join a bikie gang.
Commissioner Carroll said the personal accounts exposed the reality of life inside these criminal networks and their devastating impacts on families.
“Police regularly see the terrible personal outcomes for people drawn into these gangs, and those featured in the video chose to participate because they want to highlight to others the effect gang membership has had on their health, families and future,” she said.
“More than 50 ex-OMCG members have participated in the research.
“It’s the first Australian study to explore reasons why individuals join and leave OMCGs by speaking directly to former club members.
“What the research tells us is more than half of those interviewed joined an OMCG following a significant life event or crisis, seeking camaraderie, but were instead met with a life of violence and crime and felt like there was no way out.
“For many ex-gang members, staying out of gangs and criminal activity is influenced by a range of factors and motivators, which individuals find difficult.
“It is these factors [that] The Exit Program is trying to address in order to reduce gang-related crime and the harm it causes families and communities.”
Australian Federal Police (AFP)’s National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) Detective Acting Superintendent Jason McArthur said the AFP-led NAGS was a strong supporter of the new program, with the initiative providing a positive solution for OMCG members and their loved ones to escape the reach of these dangerous gangs.
“OMCGs are criminal gangs motivated by greed and these videos pull back the curtain and reveal the harsh reality of membership and association with these gangs using the stories of real people,” Detective Acting Superintendent McArthur said.