Police minister responds to Chinchilla crime petition
POLICE Minister MP Mark Ryan has responded to a petition calling for legislative change to help to curb crime in Chinchilla, which was signed by hundreds of concerned community members in July.
Mr Ryan acknowledged the concerns of the community and noted efforts the Palaszczuk government had already undertaken to help curb crime in the region, and break the cycle of repeat offenders.
"(We) continue to implement targeted policing operations, proactive strategies, and enhanced partnerships with key stakeholders to respond to the policing needs on the people who work in Chinchilla and surrounding areas in the South West District," he said.
"Community safety initiatives include the targeting of offenders through high visibility patrols, community engagement, and proactive high visibility policing.
"A number of community bases strategies have recently been implemented in Chinchilla, including a Community Consultative Group, to ensure that there is direct liaison between agencies and community members.
"A Juvenile High Risk Team has also been established to ensure government agencies work closely together on initiatives to keep the community safe."
Mr Ryan assured the community police were actively targeting property crime, drugs, and anti-social behaviour, although said went it comes to youth crime the issue becomes more complex.
"Reducing youth crime requires a whole of community approach that included parents, families, and community leaders," he said.
"We are dedicated to working with community members to ensure that strategies for responding to young offenders address local issues and draw on community knowledge and strengths."
Mr Ryan said the state government has been directly targeting the issue of youth crime across Queensland by creating youth justice reforms to reduce the chances of reoffending.
"This government brought in significant changes to the Youth Justice Act, as a result, police prosecutors and successfully launching appeals in cases where it is clear that bail should not have be granted," he said.
"So far, there has been a 100 per cent success rate."
The man behind the five-point petition who brought the community together in the fight against crime, Joel Adams, said he was deeply disappointed by Mr Ryan's response to the petition as none of the concerns raised in the petition were acknowledged.
"I and a few others feel it was a very vague response that was mainly directed at trying to bolster support for the current government instead of addressing the issue at hand directly," Mr Adams said.
The father of three said he is well aware of all the hard work Chinchilla police put in protecting the community going above and beyond to keep everyone safe, but believes tighter legislative change is needed to back their efforts up.
"The Chinchilla police can't be faulted… they're doing everything in their power, although there is a limit as to what they can do," he said.
As the issues surrounding youth crime are multifaceted, Mr Adams said he also hopes to get involved in local mentoring programs, and other on the ground proactive avenues.
"Some offenders have had difficult upbringings and come from broken homes, I would never give up on anybody who needs help… I want to be able to help young people any way I can," he said.
"It's about the community coming together and creating meaningful change."
The five points raised in the petition were as follows:
1. Enforced community service, with no suspended sentences and increases hours to complete.
2. Fines and charges for parents/guardians to ensure accountability of young criminal offenders.
3. Stronger powers for Queensland Police to apprehend criminal suspects.
4. Curfews for offenders with the use of tracking devices (ankle bracelets)
5. Frequent random drug and alcohol testing for offenders and fines/charges if traces of drugs are found in their system.
The five-point petition was tabled at the Legislative Assembly on August, 13 by local Member for Callide, Colin Boyce MP, who said criminal elements plaguing Chinchilla cannot be resolved with more police, instead it's the crime and punishment system that needs an overhaul.