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11 February, 2021

New Youth Crime Reforms Announced

Since the Australia Day killing of Alexandra Hills couple Kate Leadbetter, Matty Fields and their unborn child at the hands of a youth offender, petitions and rallies against crime have sprung up across the state calling for tougher

By Nicole Gibson

On Tuesday, Annastacia Palaszczuk announced reforms to target hardcore youth criminals who repeatedly offend and put the community at risk. These are the changes:

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.

Offending whilst on bail will also be legislated as 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.


Specific measure for Cairns

In addition to the new reforms, the State Government also announced a suite of initiatives specifically target youth offenders in Cairns. These include focusing local police resources on property crime and high-risk recidivist offenders.

A rollout of school-based police support officers will also occur with Cairns earmarked as the first location in Queensland for this to occur.

The support officers’ role will be to work within school communities to identify and support at-risk young people.

A visit from the Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll and newly appointed head of Queensland’s Youth Crime Taskforce, Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon, to explain what the new measures will mean is also imminent.

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