Queensland Premier Campbell Newman
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman Chris Ison

Voters should be 'sceptical' of govt bikie crime claims

CRIME experts have questioned the Queensland government's interpretation of statistics to "prove" the anti-bikie laws are having a significant impact on crime.

As recently as today Premier Campbell Newman pointed to statistics showing robberies, unlawful entries, motor vehicle thefts and extortion had all dropped over the six months to the end of November and said they were due to the government's anti-bikie crackdown.

Mr Newman told 612 ABC yesterday Queensland had seen "a huge reduction in crime - because we took on criminal gangs".

But UQ law professor Andreas Schloenhardt said, apart from extortion, the offences listed were not ones heavily associated with criminal gangs.

"Extortion may be an offence heavily committed by gang members, but robbery, vehicle theft and unlawful entry are not," Prof Schloenhardt said.

Griffith University criminologist Dr Tim Hart said the statistics were likely accurate, and "no one was caught in a lie", but voters needed to be sceptical of political data interpretations.

"They are assuming things about the data that shouldn't be assumed," Dr Hart said.

"The statistics are probably accurate, but as soon as that word 'because' is added, it's speculation.

"The data tells us what is happening, it can't tell us why."

Prof Schloenhardt, an outspoken critic of the laws, said if the statistics showed a drop in serious drug offences such as importation and trafficking that are more closely linked with organised crime there would be a strong link showing the law's success.

"That would really show they'd had an impact. And it would something to be proud of," he said.

A spokesman for police minister Jack Dempsey said the government stood by their controversial laws.

"The Newman LNP Government has a strong plan to keep Queensland families safe and our strong stance against criminal gangs has seen 1706 criminal gang participants arrested on 4710 charges," he said.

"We have various ways of measuring the impact of our criminal gang laws, including crime statistics, and those laws are clearly working.

"Our stronger laws, along with the extra 800 police we've put on the beat, have led to significant falls in reported crime across the state."

The spokesman directed questions to the Queensland police who said "specific statistics released by entities outside the Queensland Police Service should be clarified with that entity".

- APN NEWSDESK



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