‘We catch youth offenders, then it's Groundhog Day again’

 

POLICE on the ground say they are fed up with the constant "catch and release" of underage thugs who are terrorising shopping centres and train stations in the city's north.

Several sources said police were arresting teenage criminals, only for them to walk in and out of court and reoffend. They cannot be shamed in public because of the Youth Justice Act.

"It's a constant … but that's the job these days," a police source said.

"We catch them, and then Groundhog Day, we get them again."

Still from a video showing the assault and robbery of a teenager by a Gold Coast high school student.
Still from a video showing the assault and robbery of a teenager by a Gold Coast high school student.

Another source told the Bulletin the mood on the ground was one of frustration, but there wasn't much they could do, other than keep on arresting people when they break the law.

The Bulletin has reported four teenage gang bashings in the past week. The issue came to a head on Thursday when it was revealed about 10 youths bashed two brothers, aged 16 and 21, in a homophobic rant; and a Gold Coast boy bashed, stood over and cruelly stole clothing and jewellery from a random victim.

The stories outraged the community, with hundreds of Gold Coasters writing in online to vent their anger.

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander said his party would put an end to the revolving door of Gold Coast courts, by bringing back breach of bail as an offence, if it won next year's election.

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"Under the Palaszczuk Labor Government, we've seen weakened laws, a revolving door system with repeat offenders not held accountable for their crimes and overcrowded youth detention centres with continual riots and lockdowns," Mr Mander said.

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"A Deb Frecklington LNP government will ensure our police have the resources they need and back them up with tougher laws and tougher sentences.

"The LNP will make breach of bail a criminal offence instead of letting juvenile offenders terrorise the community.

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Joshua and his 16 year old brother were the victims of a brutal gay bashing on the Gold Coast at Coomera on Tuesday. Picture Glenn Hampson
Joshua and his 16 year old brother were the victims of a brutal gay bashing on the Gold Coast at Coomera on Tuesday. Picture Glenn Hampson

"Under the LNP, we will make sure there are serious consequences to criminal behaviour."

Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said she was appalled by what had been reported by the Bulletin this week.

"I was appalled when I saw what had happened on the Gold Coast," Ms Farmer said.

"Community confidence and community safety is the basis of everything we're doing in youth justice, and young people need to be accountable for their actions.

"If a young person has committed a serious offence they should suffer the consequences, but we want to address the causes of youth crime to break the cycle of offending in the first place, and of reoffending. That's why we've committed over half a billion dollars to taking youth justice reform out of the too-hard basket, and addressing this issue once and for all."

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“That’s why we’ve committed over half a billion dollars to taking youth justice reform out of the too-hard basket, and addressing this issue once and for all.” Picture Glenn Hampson
“That’s why we’ve committed over half a billion dollars to taking youth justice reform out of the too-hard basket, and addressing this issue once and for all.” Picture Glenn Hampson

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said they were working hard to keep the community safe and target the reoffenders.

"There are a range of environmental, psychological and socio-economic factors which contribute to the prevalence of juvenile offending," the spokeswoman said.

"Resolving anti-social and criminal behaviour exhibited by young people requires a whole of government, whole of community and whole of family approach to break the cycle.

"The majority of juvenile offenders who are cautioned don't reoffend. However, a small minority prove to be persistent offenders.

"The QPS is committed to a partnership approach to address the cause of offending, to ensure

young people are held responsible for their behaviour, and to draw on the positive benefits of

rehabilitation to build stronger communities."

They said they were running a number operations and programs to combat youth crime, like Operation Romeo Luminous targeting public transport, Romeo Bombous, a high visibility push into the northern corridor, a long with a number of programs trying to prevent teens getting into a life of crime.

Queensland Rail, Destination Gold Coast and TransLink did not respond to the Bulletin's question about what they were doing to help curb youth violence.

On Thursday, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate questioned whether "lefty" teachers were to blame for the youth crime problem and said council was looking into more CCTV cameras, signage and lighting. When council was asked to elaborate, it declined.



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