Saturday, April 20, 2024

Police youth co-responder team to launch in Toowoomba

Queensland Police Minister, Mark Ryan, has today announced that the State’s Youth Co-Responder Teams (YCRT) initiative will be expanded to Toowoomba.

The Queensland Police program works to reduce youth crime and improve community safety by engaging with at-risk youth and young people on court orders at all hours of the day.

“The Youth Co-Responder Teams program involves a dedicated police vehicle providing a rapid response capability for young people who come into contact with the criminal justice system or at-risk of doing so,” said Minister Ryan.  

He said Youth Co-Responders had so far conducted more than 45,000 engagements directly with young people and 50,000 engagements with family, carers and other stakeholders involved in a young person’s life since July 1, 2020.

“We have seen exceptional outcomes where young people have re-engaged with education or have secured employment as a result of the YCRT interventions.”

“I know the Toowoomba community will welcome having its very own dedicated Youth Co-Responder Team and I look forward to seeing similar fantastic outcomes for young people and the community that we have seen in other areas where YCRT is operating.”  

The teams undertake various activities including de-escalating and problem solving where groups congregate, transporting youth to safety, connecting with families and support agencies and exploring diversionary pathways.

The Queensland Government began rolling out the joint police and youth justice co-responder program in May 2020 as part of a commitment to reduce youth crime.

Since then, co-responder teams have expanded across a network of eight locations including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Brisbane North, Moreton, Logan and the Gold Coast.

“We know by focusing interactions with both at-risk and high-risk young people we can build rapport and maximise early intervention opportunities,” said Commander of Youth Crime Taskforce Acting Assistant Commissioner George Marchesini.

“Using local intelligence and priorities, our teams target hotspot areas and support frontline police in situations involving youth offending when required.

“By partnering with Youth Justice, police are able to connect with young people in a positive way to the point where we see 96 per cent of young people readily engaging with the crews.

“We’re able to use the expertise of both agencies and enhance partnerships with government and non-government agencies to collectively respond to youth crime.”   

The State Government also today announced an intensive bail supervision program will be expanded to Toowoomba which provides targeted local case and place-based responses to youth released on bail.

As part of this initiative, police undertake proactive strategies including home bail compliance checks, proactive youth engagement and patrols of known hotspots to improve bail compliance and minimise reoffending of young people on bail.

Between 1 July 2020 and 31 January 2023, police officers carried out 21,497 engagements with young people on bail as part of the intensive program.

“The Toowoomba community told the government they wanted the successful Youth Co-Responder Teams extended to their city. The government listened and is acting,”
said Minister for Youth Justice, Leanne Linard.

“Preventing crime before it occurs is the most effective way to break the cycle of youth offending, which is why the co-responder teams are so important.

“Speaking with young people at the local park or shopping centre, on the street or in their homes, could very well mean Police and Youth Justice officers won’t have to meet them in the courthouse or the watchhouse.

“Anything we do to tackle youth crime also needs to consider the causes of crime, which is exactly what the co-responders are doing.”

The Government has pledged additional funding for Toowoomba to expand its intensive case management program, allowing more high-risk young people and their families to access targeted support.
  

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