An innovative collaboration between police and youth justice workers is having a major impact on youth crime in Rockhampton.
Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said that in the past eighteen months, the co-responder team had engaged with young people 2228 times since the operation began in July 2020.
“Our co-responder teams are made up of police and youth justice workers who patrol the streets and are part of ongoing efforts to tackle youth crime in this region and provide early intervention,” she said.
“They’re helping reconnect our vulnerable young people with services such as education, health and housing.
“I’m very proud of the practical difference they’re making to teens, families and the wider community by preventing youth crime before it happens and improving the wellbeing of at-risk youth.
“Youth crime typically occurs after business hours, which is why it’s important that we have a dedicated team on the ground who can respond whenever needed, including in the middle of the night, to young people who are in crisis or on the verge of getting into trouble with the law.
“These young people often have complex backgrounds and by working together, youth justice staff and police are helping to address these underlying problems.”
Rockhampton is one of eight locations across the state where the Queensland Government has established co-responder teams.
Barry O’Rourke MP, Member for Rockhampton said the program enables co-responders to connect young people to a range of support services.
“These services help tackle a range of issues, from homelessness to disengagement from education, domestic violence and substance misuse,” he said.
“Co-responders also help transport young people home from a place of risk or if they’re engaging in anti-social behaviour, they help find missing children, take them to the hospital to treat injuries, connect them to vocational training and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors, and follow up with families in crisis situations.”
Brittany Lauga MP, Member for Keppel said co-responders also check on young people on bail to help ensure they comply with their bail conditions.
“This overall approach strikes a balance between holding offenders to account while giving young people in the early stages of offending the chance to stay out of trouble and the youth justice system,” she said.
Co-responder teams also operate in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Moreton, Logan and Brisbane North and the Gold Coast.
The 2021–22 budget allocated $11.9 million for the co-responder initiative.