Monday, June 17, 2024

Councils call for immediate action on youth crime in Queensland

Queensland councils are calling for immediate action to address law and order issues within their communities amid the state’s ongoing juvenile crime crisis.

nine-point Action Plan which outlines community-driven solutions to curb youth crime was released by Queensland’s local leaders at the 127th Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Annual Conference in Gladstone today.

Councils agreed to back measures including tailored local solutions, diversionary strategies designed to keep young people out of the juvenile justice system, and increased support for victims of crime.

LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson said while law and order was a State Government responsibility, councils were focused on putting forward constructive solutions to help address the concerns of their communities.

“Partnering with the State and the Queensland Police Service on locally-led initiatives to target key problems – if funding and resourcing were made available – is high on many councils agendas,” he said.

“As the level of government that is closest to the community, councils are acutely aware of the impacts of youth crime – on victims, business owners and neighbourhoods across Queensland.” 

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor, Geoff McDonald said additional funding support and greater collaboration to tackle the root cause of issues would be welcomed.

“A State Government crime forum held earlier this year in Toowoomba showed the scale of the problem and its impact on victims and our residents,” he said.

Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Mayor, Mislam Sam said the success his community had found with a community night patrol driven by residents in reducing property crime showed that greater community control can work.

“We as a community have been calling for greater support for grassroots solutions like these – it’s the only way to address the root cause of some of these issues our young people are facing,” he said.

While the Action Plan highlights examples of successful local and place-based initiatives supported by councils to combat crime, Mayor Jamieson stressed that councils needed additional resources to address youth offending rates.

“We know that no other level of government understands their community like councils,” he said.

“However local crime fighting initiatives and strategies need to be well-resourced and deployed in partnership with police.”

Queensland Police this week charged 60 teenagers with 190 offences as part of an operation by Taskforce Guardian – a dedicated team of police and youth justice workers targeting recidivist juvenile property offenders.

Taskforce Guardian worked in conjunction with local specialist and general duties Police officers in Rockhampton this week (October 9 to 17) as part of ongoing efforts to help foster community safety.

Acting Detective Inspector Joe Nixon from the State Flying Squad and Taskforce Guardian said the operation had assisted Rockhampton Police with both crime reduction and crime prevention.

Police attend a property in Rockhampton in relation to property offences.

“Taskforce Guardian along with local police saturated various areas that youths were known to frequent which has helped disrupt youth offending and anti-social behaviour,” Detective Inspector Nixon said.

“Our officers have also used the opportunity as a platform to engage with young people in an effort to foster a positive rapport on the road to crime prevention while providing appropriate support services that focus on health and education of our young people at risk.”

Police search a youth during the operation in Rockhampton.

Queensland Police says the new rapid response arm works collaboratively with Youth Justice to target youth crime and provide immediate support to local police to target and disrupt youth offending.

Over the past week, officers across Rockhampton conducted hundreds of engagements including street checks, bail checks, breaches of bail and warrants.

In that time, Taskforce Guardian officers, in conjunction with local police, charged 60 youths on a total of 190 charges including burglary, break, enter stealing and more.

Latest Articles