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Tough new action to target repeat youth offenders

February 09, 2021

The State Government will move immediately to further crackdown on juvenile crime.

The new measures will target hardcore youth criminals who repeatedly offend and put the community at risk.

Courts will get more powers allowing them to:

Require fitting of electronic monitoring devices (GPS Trackers)

  • As a condition of bail for recidivist high risk offenders aged 16 and 17

Create a presumption against bail

  • For youth offenders arrested for committing further serious indictable offences (such as breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery) while on bail

Seek assurances from parents and guardians

  • That bail conditions will be complied with before an offender is released

Strengthen existing bail laws to provide further guidance to the courts

  • The Youth Justice Act will be amended to include a reference to the community being protected from recidivist youth offenders in the Charter of Youth Justice Principles

The government will also enshrine in legislation the existing common law principle that offending whilst on bail is an aggravating circumstance when the court is imposing a sentence.

To prevent crime:

  • Police will be given metal detecting wands to target knife crime on the Gold Coast;
  • Anti-hooning laws will be strengthened to hold the registered owner of a vehicle responsible except where the vehicle is stolen or the owner can identify another driver; and
  • A parliamentary inquiry will examine the implementation of remote engine immobilisers

Assistant Police Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, Queensland’s former Security and Counter Terrorism Command will lead a Youth Crime Taskforce to implement the new measures.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the loss of four innocent lives linked to a spate of senseless crimes would not go unanswered.

“It is clear to me and to the community that some young offenders simply don’t care about consequences,” the Premier said.

The Premier also announced that former Commissioner Bob Atkinson will report on the efficacy of the measures in six months.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said young offenders needed to learn the consequences of their actions.

“This is about targeting the hardcore repeat offenders – those 10 per cent of youth offenders who are frequently putting the community at risk.

“We must stop young hardcore offenders being let out on bail and reoffending the next day. That is why we are making these changes to bail laws.

“Ten per cent of all youth offenders account for 48 per cent of all youth crime*.

“It is this group we will target with all the force and resources at our disposal.”

The Premier said the new measures build on the Government’s five-point action plan announced in March last year, with $550 million in Youth Justice reforms already underway.

Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said those reforms have led to a 23 per cent decrease in the numbers of youth offenders.

“For example, our Transition 2 Success Program has a 67 per cent success rate,” the Minister said.

“About 187 young people have attended and 67 per cent have not re-offended.”

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said it is anticipated necessary law changes will be introduced at this month’s sittings of State Parliament.