Clubhouses for the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Comancheros are expected to be among the first buildings in Melbourne to be targeted under a new law banning fortified walls and barricades.
Victoria’s anti-fortification law came into effect on Sunday, allowing police to get court orders to tear down walls, fences and other defences at bikie gang hangouts.
Police say the law will help during raids by preventing criminals from destroying evidence while officers storm the premises. Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana says police are already writing up affidavits to take several groups to court in the coming days.
It’s believed at least a half-a-dozen properties are on the police hit list, including clubhouses for the Bandidos, Comancheros and Hells Angels.
“There’s been a lot of tension out in the community amongst these particular outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Fontana said on Friday. The move comes as police step up the pressure on bikie gangs fighting each other in the city’s southeast.
The Hells Angels and the Bandidos have been involved in escalating tensions all year. But the Comancheros has also become embroiled in a tit-for-tat drive-by shooting battle against the Hells Angels in the past two weeks.
At least 10 bikies have been arrested with police seizing guns, drugs and explosives.
The anti-fortification law will form part of the police crackdown on bikie clubs, but it will take some time before real action occurs. Under the new law, police have to apply for a court order to have fortifications removed from a property.
But a magistrate has to be convinced that the buildings are being used for criminal activity and then has to give the organisation at least three months to comply with a tear-down order, if no appeal is lodged.
After that, the walls can come down and owners who don’t comply face jail terms of up to two years.
A police spokeswoman said on Sunday there are no plans to notify the public when police make an anti-fortification application.