Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan joined Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Leanne Linard and Police Commissioner, Katarina Carroll in Townsville today to announce a second co-responder team, made up of police and youth justice workers, is set to hit the streets of Townsville to reduce youth offending, after the initiative’s successful introduction to the city more than a year ago.
Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Mark Ryan said expanding the Co-responder in Townsville would boost community safety outcomes.
“This is about using all of the resources at our disposal to make our communities safer and also to make a difference in the lives of troubled youths,” Mr Ryan said.
“Police officers and youth justice workers work hand-in-hand to reduce reoffending by monitoring and engaging with vulnerable young people in public places who may need help on a whole range of issues, including homelessness, domestic violence and substance misuse.”
Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Leanne Linard, said the expansion of the service further demonstrated the government’s commitment to community safety.
“Breaking the cycle is critical and that’s exactly what these teams aim to do every time they connect vulnerable young people to services that can assist with everything from homelessness and domestic violence to substance misuse,” she said.
“However, it’s also important that young offenders comply with their bail conditions, and this is why co-responders check up on them to ensure those conditions are being met.”
Police Commissioner, Katarina Carroll said Co-responder teams were having some success at stopping crime before it happens.
“Co-responder team members have had some great successes in eight locations across the state, and I’m delighted we’ll now see even more of them in Townsville,” Commissioner Carroll said.
“We’ll also be providing another specially marked vehicle, to add to the existing one in the city, to enable police and youth justice staff to patrol hot spots around the city.
“It means more resources working with the community to stop crime before it occurs, while reducing anti-social behaviour in public places and diverting young people to important support services and early intervention programs.”
Since the initiative commenced in May 2020, co-responder teams have been in contact with young people more than 2500 times in Townsville and around 13,000 times around the state.
The recent state budget had allocated $11.9M for 2021–22 to the co-responder initiative, which is now operating in eight regions: Townsville, Cairns, Moreton, Rockhampton, Logan, Mackay, Brisbane North and the Gold Coast.
To reduce offending and re-offending by young people, the state budget also included additional funding of:
- $92 million over four years to fund practical actions to deal with serious repeat offenders and continue existing programs and services to tackle youth offending – including co-responder teams, extended hours of supervision on weekends and at night for intensive monitoring of high-risk repeat offenders and intensive support for their families
- $7.7 million over four years for a new 10-bed drug and alcohol residential treatment program for young people
- $5 million in infrastructure funding for a short-term remand centre and up to $11.4 million over four years (held centrally in Treasury) to operate the centre
- $5.7 million for a business case to investigate additional detention centre capacity options.
The additional funding follows the government’s previous investment of more than half a billion dollars in early intervention programs and new detention centre beds, in addition to more police on the ground.