Saturday, July 13, 2024

Queensland deploys fifth youth crime co-responder team

New youth co-responder teams made up of Queensland Police and youth justice workers have hit the streets of South Brisbane, working 24/7 with at-risk youth and young people on court orders to help break the cycle of youth crime.

The team is one of five new co-responder teams established across the state.

They are part of a $100 million funding package to expand early intervention, diversionary and rehabilitation programs to deter young people from offending.

“Co-responder teams work to stop crime before it happens. Every time they engage with a young person, not only is it an opportunity to stop them from reoffending, but they also get to check on their welfare,” said Youth Justice Minister, Di Farmer.

Co-responder teams consist of police and youth justice staff who patrol the streets and other areas where young people congregate, engaging with young people, their families and the wider community.

They also provide practical support, including de-escalating conflicts, transporting young people to safety, interacting with support agencies, and exploring ways to divert young people from the youth justice system.

Vulnerable young people are also connected with the services they need to turn their lives around, including those that assist with housing, health, domestic and family violence, and education.

“We need to target the root causes of offending – and that’s exactly what co-responders do. The new South Brisbane youth co-responder team is working with young people, including serious repeat offenders, in the area 24/7, helping get them on the right path,” said Minister Farmer.

“For example, if young people are engaging in anti-social behaviour in a public space, the team can transport them home or to a safe place.

“A 2022 report found 95% average compliance by young people in their interactions with youth co-responder teams, including compliance with bail conditions and orders.

“The teams also link young people to services where needed, and make sure they’re supported to find safe housing and pathways to education.

“While there is more work to be done, I’m incredibly proud of our co-responders and the work they are doing to keep our communities safe.”

Co-responder teams have been progressively established around the state since 2020, interacting with young people more than 64,000 times.

The South Brisbane team will be based at the Oxley Police Academy and will cover suburbs in the Queensland Police Service South Brisbane District, including Mount Gravatt, Camp Hill, Morningside, West End and the Redlands.

“The youth co-responder teams complement the work of our police, who work tirelessly to prevent, disrupt, respond to, and investigate youth crime,” said South Brisbane District Detective Inspector Paul Dalton.

“We know that by focusing our interactions on building positive relationships with young people, we can have meaningful impact on their potential future offending.

“The work of the youth co-responder team doesn’t occur in isolation and will work in conjunction with other initiatives in the area to directly address youth crime.”

“Our new team is excited to get out in the community and work with young people and their families in Brisbane’s southern suburbs,” said South Brisbane youth co-responder officer Matt Goldsmith.

“Our focus is on intervening early and preventing crime from happening in the first place.

“I’m sure we will be able to make a difference in the South Brisbane area as part of our commitment to community safety.”

The five new teams service Toowoomba, Ipswich, South Brisbane, the Fraser Coast and Mount Isa.

They join teams already in eight regions: Townsville, Cairns, Moreton, Rockhampton, Logan, Mackay, North Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

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