Police union fury at ‘catch, release’ kids
RANK-AND-FILE police are so frustrated with the "catch and release" of serious youth offenders they are close to giving up on making arrests, the Gold Coast's top police union rep warns.
Police Union South Eastern official Sergeant Andy Williams has criticised "continual offers" of youth bail and the ongoing cycle of offending as the city grapples with juvenile crime.
The sergeant, who oversees police from Logan to the Gold Coast, said the region could have "all the police in the world" but if there were no consequences for offending "what is the point of arresting them in the first place?".
He wrote in the latest Queensland Police Union journal last month: "If there are no consequences for these kids, how can we expect the offending to stop? I can see a point in the not-too-distant future where police will simply bypass the system and avoid taking juvenile offenders into custody."
He said the time-consuming process of officers trying to find someone responsible for children they collar, and the resulting paperwork, "isn't worth the outcome of a reprimand".
His frustrated spray comes after beat police told the Bulletin in September they were fed up with the constant "catch and release" of underage thugs terrorising northern shopping malls and train stops.
Sources said police were arresting teen criminals, only for them to walk out of court and reoffend. They can't 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."
Another said the mood on the beat was frustration.
A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said this week police were dedicated to "tackling youth crime" and "effective policing strategies and reforms" to reduce reoffending.
Police Minister Mark Ryan has previously said the State Government was heading in the right direction to tackle youth crime.
The Bulletin has reported a string of violent robberies on the Coast, including bashings for brand clothes and mobiles.
Sources have said teens armed with knives were heading south from Logan and Beenleigh by train, dubbed the "Beirut run".
It escalated last month with the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jack Beasley.
It sparked calls for airport-style security screening at Helensvale station.
A police spokeswoman said: "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."
She said 85 per cent of juvenile offenders who are cautioned never reoffend but a "small minority" went on to be persistent offenders.
Police also said the inclusion of 17-year-olds into the youth justice system inevitably resulted in an increase in data.