What factors motivate individuals to join and disaffiliate from organised crime gangs?

Dr Julianne Webster1, Dr  Winnie  Chiu1, Dr Christopher Dowling2, Mr  Anthony Morgan2

1Queensland Police Service, Brisbane City , Australia, 2AIC, Canberra, Australia

Law enforcement agencies have traditionally measured success in combating Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG) through quantifying the outcomes of targeting activities such as arrests, charges, court sentencing, assets seized, and forfeitures. However countries like Australia are increasingly recognising the promising outcomes from programs such as those operating in Scandinavia and the United States, to support individuals to leave crime gangs and influence the development of pro-social behaviours.

Unique and innovative research undertaken by the Queensland Police Service in collaboration with Australia Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) Serious and Organised Crime Research Laboratory (SOCR-Lab) is assisting to inform national law enforcement about the factors influencing both recruitment into and disaffiliation from OMCG. These research findings will be used to directly inform the development of prevention and exit program strategies for the national context. The presentation will provide an overview of this research and will discuss preliminary findings.


Dr Julianne Webster has 24 years experience working in criminal justice statistics, research, evaluation and policy development in both government and academic settings. Since 2017, Julianne has led a small team of professional researchers in the Intelligence and Covert Services Command. Her team supports the service’s strategic, operational and tactical functions by providing evidence-based advice in the development of effective strategies and tactics to address problem cases, places or issues; and conducts evaluations, reviews and innovative research which informs decision-makers in the QPS.

Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing

The Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing (ANZSEBP) was formed in April 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. The ANZSEBP is a police practitioner-led Society. The mission of the ANZSEBP is to develop, disseminate and advocate for police to use scientific research (“the evidence”) to guide best practice in all aspects of policing. The ANZSEBP Chairperson serves on the Executive Board of the British Society of Evidence Based Policing, ensuring that the ANZSEBP works cooperatively with an international group of police to advance evidence based policing.

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