Australian-first OMCG exit and prevention program launched

Published Thursday, 04 February, 2021 at 01:00 PM

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, the Honourable Mark Ryan MP, joined Commissioner Katarina Carroll today to officially launch Australia’s first exit program for former outlaw motorcycle gang members wanting a lasting way out of gang life.

The Exit Program launch coincided with the release of two videos revealing the truth about associating with OMCGs as told by former gang members and families.

The former outlaw motorcycle gang members featured in the videos tell how they and their families continue to live with the consequences of their choice to join a gang.

The message they both share is, you wouldn’t join a gang if you knew the truth.

Commissioner Carroll said these personal accounts expose the reality of life inside these criminal networks and the devastating impacts on families. 

“Police regularly see the terrible personal outcomes for people drawn into these gangs, and those featured in the video chose to participate because they want to highlight to others the effect gang membership has had on their health, families and future,” Commissioner Carroll said.

“More than 50 ex-OMCG members have participated in the research.

“It’s the first Australian study to explore reasons why individuals join and leave OMCGs by speaking directly to former club members.

“What the research tells us is more than half of those interviewed joined an OMCG following a significant life event or crisis, seeking camaraderie, but were instead met with a life of violence and crime and felt like there was no way out.

“For many ex-gang members, staying out of gangs and criminal activity is influenced by a range of factors and motivators, which individuals find difficult.

“It is these factors the Exit Program is trying to address in order to reduce gang-related crime and the harm it causes families and communities.”

Australian Federal Police (AFP) National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) Detective Acting Superintendent Jason McArthur said the AFP-led NAGS was a strong supporter of the new program, with the initiative providing a positive solution for OMCG members and their loved ones to escape the reach of these dangerous gangs.

“OMCGs are criminal gangs motivated by greed and these videos pull back the curtain and reveal the harsh reality of membership and association with these gangs using the stories of real people,” Detective Acting Superintendent McArthur said.

The Exit Program is an initiative of the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Corrective Services for adult ex-gang members in Queensland to access tailored support services including drug and alcohol issues, employment and training, mentoring, family relationships and mental health.

While QPS acts as a referrer, the program is delivered and managed through community organisations and alongside government partners.

Minister Ryan commended police for their innovative thinking in deterring gang recruitment while staying tough on OMCG activity.

“Police are continuing to use the Queensland Government’s tough laws to target and disrupt criminal networks and OMCG offenders,” Minister Ryan said.

“Now, through the Exit Program and the prevention videos, police are expanding their focus on exposing the truth of gang membership delivered by ex-gang members themselves and providing a pathway from gangs. 

“It is an opportunity for gang members to change the course of their life and their families.  

“The Exit Program is an Australian-first and in fact the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, backed by research that highlights the potential for these programs to reduce rates of re-offending.”

The Exit videos were produced in partnership with the Australian Federal Police National Anti-Gangs Squad. 

The Queensland program supports the work being done through Taskforce Morpheus, a multiagency approach to combating crimes linked to OMCG nationally and internationally. 

Media contacts 

Minister Ryan’s Office: Ph: (07) 3035 8300

Police Media: Ph: (07) 3015 2444