BUNDABERG'S top traffic cop has defended the actions of his fellow colleagues in blue who are facing harsh criticism following the introduction of new laws targeting criminal motorcycle gangs.
Queensland Police Union Bundaberg representative Sergeant Marty Arnold said there had been plenty of publicity and incorrect information circulating around in social and public media.
"Much of which is either exaggerated or incorrect and, unfortunately for us in the Police Service, we are restricted to very tight release of information on policies and can't defend ourselves as often as we would like," he said.
"These new laws were introduced as the overwhelming majority of the public wanted action about the increasing violence and disregard for law and safety by criminal motorcycle gangs."
Do you agree with Sgt Arnold?
This poll ended on 17 January 2015.
I don't believe a word he's saying - 57%
He means well, but he's just not right - 18%
He's spot on, 100% correct - 22%
He's changed how I see the new VLAD laws - 1%
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"Many normal bike riders are pulled over every day, as we have done since the dawn of time, but not because of this legislation but because they were speeding or, as a disturbingly high percentage of motorcycle riders do, try to evade police," he said.
"The new laws only apply to legislated and designated bikie gangs such as The Rebels or Mongols - not your local social riding club.
"Unfortunately we don't have crystal balls, so as most criminal bikies wear black outfits with patches riding Harleys we intercept these types of vehicle because if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck unless we check it out and determine otherwise."
Sgt Arnold said these checks were not designed to harass members of the public; rather to ensure the intent of the legislation that aimed to "crush these lawless gangs" was achieved.
"I can just hear the conspiracy theorists rolling their eyes as they jump on to their computers to write some uninformed letter to the editor, but I can assure you we have nothing to hide and do the best job we can under sometimes very dangerous circumstances," he said.
"If you doubt this, feel free to come for a ride with me one Friday night and be the first to jump out of the police car at the next stabbing or drunken assault."
Sgt Arnold highlighted two particular cases that seem to have started a lot of debate and made policeman look like the villains - the motorist who got a ticket for doing 61km/h in a 60km/h zone and the motorcyclist who got a ticket for stretching his legs off the footrests while riding.
"I know the real story behind those incidents and on both occasions the drivers were intercepted for more serious offences but given those minor tickets as a show of good faith and warned regarding the more serious offence only to have it come back and slap us in the face," he said.
"All too often you see a photo or video of a police officer doing something that appears inappropriate, but it's convenient you never see what happens just before that."
"We have a saying in the police: If you don't like the police then the next time you're afraid or in trouble, call a drug dealer."