Police must be empowered to intercept kid crims: Dametto
16 August 2021
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has today called on the State Government to restore community safety by clarifying crucial police powers and enabling officers to act, particularly in relation to the deployment of tyre stingers.
Mr Dametto, spurred on by a week-long crime spike in Townsville, said Queensland communities were being left to count the cost, as they have been let down once again by a weak and ineffective youth justice system that enabled gang-like behaviour on the streets of Townsville.
He said the recent ambiguity around the use of tyre spikes, following the tragic death at Deception Bay of Senior Constable David Masters in June, had left local officers ham-strung to intercept stolen vehicles.
Over the weekend, Townsville residents were set upon in two separate car-jacking incidents.
The first victim an elderly man, was ripped from his Toyota Rav 4 near Stockland Shopping Centre. In the second incident, believed to have been committed by the same group of youths, a woman was punched in the face and dragged from her Toyota Corolla at the Willows carpark.
The stolen white Corolla was later involved in a crash on Riverway Drive where it flipped, a 12 and 16 year old have since been charged for the incident.
And on Friday, a Townsville family lost their means of transport as both their cars were stolen and senselessly set on fire.
Mr Dametto said crime statistics in Townsville had declined for a split second, but now many of the young offenders responsible for the recent crime sprees had since finished their “time” at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre and gangs have now reunited, resulting in chaos on the streets.
“The Townsville community are demanding a solution and securing number plates with anti-theft screws doesn’t even come close to reaching community expectations,” Mr Dametto said.
“We are sick and tired of the Labor Government turning a blind eye and pretending that Townsville does not have a youth crime problem, this isn’t perception is reality.
“Youth offenders believe they can invade people’s homes, steal cars, drive around erratically, running red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road at high speeds with no ramification. Imagine what would happen if you or I did that?”.
The Townsville Bulletin have revealed police sources admit officers have their hands tied when it comes to intercepting and deploying tyre stingers in fear of punishment.
“I respect there needs to be procedures in place to protect officers when using tyre stingers,” Mr Dametto said.
“In my opinion these procedures when applied locally are inconsistent – why is it OK for officers to use tyre deflation devices when a police car is stolen and not when a community members car is stolen? Also, it shouldn’t matter if it’s an adult or youth offender behind the wheel, if they pose a risk to community safety, they should be getting them off the road ASAP.”
The KAP has been calling on the State Government to trial the KAP Relocation Sentencing Policy.
Mr Dametto said the policy, which is unlike any that have been trialled in Queensland previously and has wide-ranging community support, was designed to break the crime cycle that has plagued society for many years.
“This policy is an opportunity to reform young offenders through strict discipline while teaching them life skills far away from the communities and influences that have led them to offend in the first place,” he said.