‘Bloody disgrace’: Top FNQ cop reveals youth crime blitz
SPECIALIST senior police leading a statewide juvenile crime crackdown will visit Cairns and Townsville as their top priorities as delinquent repeat offenders run amok in the city.
The Far North and Townsville have been earmarked for special attention by police Commissioner Katarina Carroll and the head of the new Youth Crime Taskforce Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon who are expected to visit both cities imminently.
Cairns will also receive the first school-based police support officers revealed during the State Government's announcement on Tuesday morning.
It comes as Far North police announced their own local taskforce, codenamed Tango Cimbria, who was quietly launched last week to begin tracking the most high-profile offenders.
Far North police Chief Supt Brian Huxley labelled the latest youth crime crisis a "bloody disgrace" and said residents had every right to be angry and demand action.
He said a total of 22 offenders, aged between just 11 and 18 had been charged with 122 offences since last Thursday since the operation began.
A number of those arrested were understood to have been on bail at the time.
"Police are as disgusted as everyone else," he said.
"My hope is we are able to very quickly bring this crime spree to a halt because it is not sustainable."
In the wake of an alleged vigilante being charged with murder following a fatal crash in Townsville, he also begged the community to not take crime into their own hands.
Social media has been abuzz with people reporting break ins and car thefts, with several concerning comments from residents about ways to tackle the issues.
This included an overnight post in one group where a resident said he would give "little thieves … some nose jobs" if needed.
"We cannot afford to have people in the community rising up and taking action themselves," Chief Supt Huxley said.
He said police could not identify specifically what had led to the latest crime spree, but offending typically went up this time of year and youths were also likely being spurred on by boasting about their criminal feats online.
"They're able to brag about their activity online as if it makes them look big and powerful," he said.
"Their behaviour is absolutely unexplainable."
The FNQ taskforce will include officers from the Property Crime Squad, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, Criminal Investigation Branch, Tactical Crime Squad, dog squad and
Special Emergency Response Team.
Cairns MP Michael Healy said he hoped residents would receive "peace of mind" from the youth crime announcements, which included a tougher stance on bail for repeat offenders.
"Everyone in our community deserves to feel safe," he said.
"These measures won't only allow us to crack down on repeat offenders, they'll also help us prevent crime before it happens."
Barron River MP Craig Crawford said Cairns was a strong focus.
"We're working hard to ensure the government is doing everything possible to tackle this issue in our community," he said.
"We are committed to working with the Police Commissioner and the freshly appointed boss of our new Youth Crime Taskforce to respond to the complex issues we are facing, with Cairns as a priority."
Originally published as 'Bloody disgrace': Top FNQ cop reveals youth crime blitz