Bikies banned from Macarthur pubs and restaurants

Banned: Outlaw motorcycle gang members in Macarthur have been told they are no longer welcome in licensed venues. Picture: Kate Geraghty
Banned: Outlaw motorcycle gang members in Macarthur have been told they are no longer welcome in licensed venues. Picture: Kate Geraghty

Dozens of known outlaw motorcycle gang members living in Macarthur have been told they are no longer welcome in the region's pubs and restaurants.

Gang members were recently served a notice that advised they were banned from entering any licensed venue in the Macarthur district.

NSW Police Strike Force Raptor has teamed up with the Australian Hotels Association, local police and local Liquor Accords to enforce the ban.

Campbelltown Police Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Inger said the Campbelltown Liquor Accord voted to adopt the 'multi-venue barring policy' in late March.

Mr Inger said the ban, to be enforced by local police and Strike Force Raptor, gave officers more power to crack down on criminals.

"Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are not just groups of motorcyclists, they are gangs that exist with the sole purpose of committing crime and creating fear in the community," he said.

"We as police deem it necessary to encourage people not to be involved in crime and to reduce fear in the community.

"That's why we have adopted the policy to limit the ability of criminals to enter licensed venues."

Detective Inspector Inger said all venues which were part of the Liquor Accord - including clubs, pubs and some restaurants - agreed to adopt the policy, as other areas Liquor Accords across Sydney had done in the past 12 months.

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs are not just groups of motorcyclists, they are gangs that exist with the sole purpose of committing crime and creating fear in the community.

Detective Inspector Greg Inger

He said up to 20 known OMCG members in Campbelltown had been served the ban notices.

"Some people who were known OMCG members were able to provide proof that they were no longer a part of the gangs and they did not need to be served with a notice," Detective Inspector Inger said.

He said it was not the responsibility of licensees or venue staff to enforce the bikie ban, but simply another tool in the police arsenal to crack down on criminal behaviour.

"We hope all venues would report criminal behaviour to us, but licencees are not expected or encouraged to turn away OMCG members, that's for police to do," he said.

"If an officer sees an OMCG member in a licensed venue they will ask them to leave the premises.

"If they refuse to comply they will be served with a Fail to Quit notice and can be fined $550.

"In rare cases they may be arrested, but that is not expected to be the norm."

He said the policy was allowed under section 134 of the Liquor Act.

Camden Liquor Accord president Steve Wisbey said Camden members of the accord adopted the ban at last month's meeting.

"The Camden Liquor Accord has followed the policies of liquor accords across south-west Sydney in implementing the policy banning outlaw motorcycle gang members from licensed venues as directed by the Camden Local Area Command," he said.

Gangs unwelcome: The list of gangs affected by the ban include the Rebels, Bandidos, Hells Angels, Comancheros, Finks, Nomads and Mongols.

Gangs unwelcome: The list of gangs affected by the ban include the Rebels, Bandidos, Hells Angels, Comancheros, Finks, Nomads and Mongols.

"The ban was accepted following Strike Force Raptor's recommendations in pursuit of community safety."

However one Macarthur licensee, who did not wish to be named, said venue owners were concerned about the impact of the ban.

"It's not a question of who will police this ban, but what are the bikies' rights and how does this impact their civil liberties," he said.

"There seems to be so many grey areas.

"At the end of the day if they come into a venue to have breakfast or lunch with their family and they aren't committing any crimes, how do you turn them away?"

The licensee said he was worried the ban would result in people being profiled based on their appearance.

"We have had a ban on bikies wearing their colours for the past five or so years," he said.

"So how would you know if someone is an outlaw gang member?

"It leaves it open for any guy wearing gold rings and covered in tattoos to be reported to police.

"It just seems like discrimination."

The licensee said while he appreciated what Strike Force Raptor was trying to achieve he worried about the safety of his staff and patrons.

"I know this ban was made with good intentions," he said.

"But if police come in and ask to remove a gang member from the venue it could get pretty disruptive and that could become a safety issue."

A NSW Police spokeswoman said Strike Force Raptor was established in 2009 to target outlaw motorcycle gangs collectively, as well as individually.

"As part of this ongoing proactive targeting, motorcycle gang members have been informed and served notices that they are banned from licensed premises across Sydney's south west and west, including the Campbelltown and Camden areas," she said.

"Those who refuse to heed the ban will face consequences, including fines and possible charges.

"Increased targeting is making it increasingly difficult for these gangs to carry out illicit activities."

Camden police did not respond to the Advertiser's request for comment.

Should bikies be banned? Share your view in a letter to the editor. Email: rdickins@fairfaxmedia.com.au.