Saturday, April 20, 2024

Youth crime efforts ramp up in Far North

The Queensland Police Service’s Youth Crime Taskforce will continue to build on the case management approach of serious repeat youth offenders, strengthening the collaboration of government departments and support agencies to break the cycle of reoffending, the State’s Police Minister said today.

Minister Mark Ryan (pictured) said Queensland Police were employing a number of strategies to proactively prevent and disrupt criminal activities in the Far North, including walking through shopping precincts, engaging with business operators and patrolling residential areas.

To date, the high visibility policing operation has resulted in the arrest of 66 juveniles and 198 adults, and has resulted in more than 530 charges.

“The State Government has announced a range of strong and innovative initiatives to further strengthen Queensland’s response to youth crime,” said Mr Ryan.

“We have seen through Operation Theta very encouraging results from local police in terms of targeting our high-risk youth offenders in the Far North and ensuring bail compliance.

“We are seeing more young people held on remand for longer after we reversed the presumption against bail – this means young people can’t offend when they’re in custody and the community is given reprieve.”

The operation involves extra patrols of hotspot areas, with a focus on engagement with young people as well as bail compliance checks.

In conjunction with a range of targeted youth engagement and diversionary programs, new drone technology and a trial of engine immobilisers to prevent car thefts are some of the initiatives being rolled out in Cairns and parts of Far North Queensland.

“As part of my role leading the Youth Crime Taskforce, I’ll be travelling the state and speaking with local community representatives to get a full picture of the end-to-end youth justice system,” said Taskforce Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner George Marchesini.

“I know there are some highly effective programs underway in Cairns but I also know there are opportunities to strengthen the collaboration of efforts across the board to get better outcomes for young people and the community.

“We will be looking at engagement and diversionary programs, the multi-agency local panels for serious repeat offenders and prevention initiatives to target disengaged youth before they reach the justice system,” he said.

As recently announced, Cairns will soon host one of two new military-grade drones, with the advanced Teledyne FLIR SkyRanger R70 drones joining the Far North Queensland aerial fleet.

To help prevent car theft, the State Government has announced $10 million will be provided to support a trial of engine immobilisers in Cairns, Mt Isa and Townsville.

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