LAW AND DISORDER: Frustrated cops speak up on crime
TOWNSVILLE police are questioning how effective government agencies are operating, as frustrations around the city's out-of-control youth crime problem continue to fester.
Local police told the Townsville Bulletin the government and non government agencies weren't pulling their weight when it came to addressing the underlying issues of young criminals.
The frustrations of the men and women walking the beat continues to grow, as they feel the hard work they put into arresting and getting the criminals before the courts was being undone by these agencies.
They also pointed the finger at the courts, with frustrated officers continually arresting the same offenders time and time again and in some cases over a decade, with young criminals graduating to serious adult offenders.
These concerns come just days after two police officers were injured in a serious crash while trying to keep the city safe.
The male and female officers were rushed to hospital on Saturday morning after trying to stop an alleged stolen car filled with seven children, ranging from 12 to 17 years old.
The driver, a 14-year-old boy, was on bail at the time of the crash.
The driver allegedly tried to ram multiple police cars, ran red lights, and almost collected innocent bystanders before eventually being forced off the road by police at Riverway Drive.
The teens were arrested, but the injuries to the officers show the real dangers Townsville police face every day on the job.
The state government committed 150 more police officers to the Northern Region over the next five years in the lead up to last year's state election.
A senior police source said they would gladly take more cops, but other things should be higher on the government's list of promises.
"A promise to increase cops also means an increase in vehicles, guns, equipment and office space," they said.
"We've got the resources, ability and powers …. but it could be made easier through more support from other agencies." The source said government agencies, like Child Safety and Youth Justice, and charities being showered with government funding needed to pull their weight.
"All that money goes towards funding these programs, but some are not working, and everyone keeps looking at police when there is a crime spike."
"These kids in care are the ones committing the crime …. there is a lot of wasted money being thrown around.
"Police are not social workers."
The source also said the current bail laws needed to be reviewed.
"There needs to be a deep dive in the legislation and see how we can streamline the process for police so we can do our job more effectively.
"The court process is ridiculous."
Townsville residents continue to live in fear with at least 60 break-ins every week across the city.
The Bulletin reported last year that you are more likely to have your home or business broken into in the city than anywhere else in the state.
Frighteningly, 907 cars have been stolen since January last year, 3259 homes or businesses broken into, and 110 people robbed.
Break-ins peaked at a high this time last year, with almost 600 unlawful entry offences committed in February. Townsville District Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon said he couldn't comment on government policy, but said conversations could always be had if things weren't lining up.
"We will continue working with our other government departments and if things aren't working, we will have conversations to address the issues," Supt Hanlon said.
Townsville police had cracked down on crime with a raft of operations rolling out in January.
Supt Hanlon said this was spurred on by multiple brazen, daylight attacks.
"Those crimes shouldn't happen, full stop."
"It will never be tolerated, and we will continue to keep holding these high-visibility operations throughout the year."
Operation Tango Pheasant has picked up 34 people on 169 charges since January 1.
Of the offenders, 21 adults have been charged with 116 charges and 13 juveniles have been charged with 53 offences.
Supt Hanlon said it was frustrating that people kept committing crime upon release.
"If people keep committing crime they'll continually be targeted by police." "We need the community to help by reporting crimes, rather than placing them on social media."
Over the next month the Townsville Bulletin will highlight the true cost of the city's growing crime epidemic.
We will bring you the story's of the people who have had their homes broken into, those who've been robbed, and had their cars stolen.
The paper will dive into the causes of the crime, look at the programs the State Government and non government agencies are running and ask, are they really working.
Most importantly politicians will be asked to explain themselves.
Explain how this has been allowed to go on for so long. And explain to those victims of this epidemic how they can trust them for the next four years to do the right thing by this city, not by their ringmasters in the south east corner.
Originally published as LAW AND DISORDER: Frustrated cops speak up on crime