Australia to roll out FBI-style gang laws



Melbourne: In a bid to crackdown violent crimes, Australian government is proposing to introduce national anti-gang laws in line with the US' FBI.

The Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said a national approach was needed to deal with the issue because criminal organisations work across state and territory borders.

"Criminals move from state to state, they've got different chapters of bikie gangs in different states, and they keep their assets in different parts of the country," quoting Clare ABC News reported today.

He said, "At the moment we've got state laws. But if you crack down in one part of the country, then history tells us that bikie gangs and other criminal organisations tend to move to other parts of the country."

He wants the states to hand over their powers to the Commonwealth so there can be uniform anti-gang laws across the country.

Clare said, he is hopeful Prime Minister Julia Gillard will be able to secure a breakthrough at next month's meeting with state and territory leaders. "Hopefully when people see shootings happening not just in Sydney but also on the weekend in Melbourne, 14 shootings happening in South Australia just in the first few weeks of this year, people will realise that we're not going to break this unless we work together.

"Under the proposed law, courts anywhere in the country would be allowed to declare a gang to be a criminal organisation, which would prevent people from meeting together or holding weapons' licences," he said.

It would also give police in all states the ability to search criminals for weapons and seize assets.

“They give law enforcement more power to seize the cash, the cars, the homes. The assets of criminals are so important," Clare said.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said he was willing to work with the Federal Government on a national approach, but is concerned the move could make some state laws invalid.

"If the Commonwealth presses ahead with laws that override and invalidate state laws then that could strike at the effectiveness of Victoria Police operations," he said.

PTI