Qld police deny roadside strip searches
3 HOURS AGODECEMBER 03, 2013 12:08PM
QUEENSLAND police say they\’re not conducting roadside strip searches of motorcyclists amid the crackdown on criminal bikies.
A caller to the ABC has told of a workmate who was pulled over by police and asked to remove parts of his motorcycle and lift his shirt to reveal any tattoos.
The caller said his colleague, who was not connected with any outlaw bikie gang, was held up for 45 minutes on his way home.
\”They were looking for tattoos, which he didn\’t have,\” the caller said, adding officers equipped with a camera asked him to lift his shirt up to his neck to expose his chest and back.
Police Superintendent Jim Keogh, who is leading Taskforce Takeback aimed at criminal bikies, says police are asking riders to show their tattoos.
But he says riders don\’t have to comply unless police are taking formal action against them.
\”I haven\’t heard of anybody being strip searched out on the street,\” Supt Keogh told the ABC on Tuesday.
\”Legally we can strip search in the watch house but we rarely do it. So I find it hard to believe that they would strip search, to the full extent, anybody in the street.
\”We\’re not asking them to take their shirt off. If they\’ve got tattoos there that are visible under the shirt, if they wouldn\’t mind showing them to us, yep absolutely. But again, it\’s by consent.\”
Supt Keogh said police were able to store photos of people\’s tattoos, for identification purposes, but there was no tattoo register as such.
\”There\’s nothing to suggest that these people who are displaying their tattoos, as we\’ve talked about, are in fact getting them recorded,\” he said.
But he said police were within their rights to record identifying particulars, including tattoos, when formal proceedings were commenced against anyone.
Supt Keogh could not say how many images of tattoos were currently held by police, nor how many tattoo images had been collected since Queensland\’s new bikie laws were introduced.
But he added: \”They\’d be the criminal motorcycle gang members who have been arrested\”.
Supt Keogh said riders not subject to formal police proceedings could refuse to show officers their tattoos.