A crime prevention initiative that has brought together a dedicated team of police and youth justice workers to patrol Rockhampton streets this week marked two years of operation.
The city’s co responder team works to improve community safety by engaging with at-risk youth and young people on court orders.
Member for Rockhampton, Barry O’Rourke said the Queensland Government began rolling out the joint police and youth justice co-responder program in May 2020 as part of a commitment to reduce youth crime.
“In all, we have eight co-responder teams in the state, connecting and communicating with young people,” Mr O’Rourke said.
Member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga said that ultimately, anything we do to tackle youth crime also needs to consider the causes of crime, which is exactly what the co-responders are doing.
“The program is an opportunity to build relationship with at-risk young people and support them and their families,” Ms Lauga said.
Minister for Children and Youth Justice, Leanne Linard, said since the team started in Rockhampton in May 2020, the co-responders had engaged young people around 3100 times.
“We know that stopping crime before it occurs is the most effective way to break the cycle of youth offending, which is why the co-responder teams are so important,” Ms Linard said.
“This is why they speak with young people at the local park or shopping centre, on the street and in their homes, so they don’t have to meet them in the courthouse or the watchhouse.
“Their work includes checking on young offenders to ensure they’re complying with their bail conditions.”
Youth co-responder team leader, David Wilkes, said the team patrols various areas of the Rockhampton policing district, including the Capricorn Coast, Mt Morgan, and Gracemere.
“This allows the team to target and engage with young people in their own communities in a way that reduces anti-social behaviour,” he said.
“Working alongside the police also allows the co-responders to identify young people who may be at risk of entering the justice system.
“It means we can put culturally appropriate supports and interventions in place where needed.”
with at-risk young people and support them and their families, ‘Ms Lauga said.
The 2021–22 budget allocated $11.9 million for the co-responder initiative.
Co-responder teams also operate in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Moreton, Brisbane North, Logan, and the Gold Coast.