Get se­ri­ous with crims

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

TIM Ni­cholls wants to give us a $ 10 mil­lion crime- fight­ing chop­per, and An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk wants to give us 53 ex­tra po­lice of­fi­cers, both of which come with sig­nif­i­cant on­go­ing costs to the tax­payer when there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this ex­pen­di­ture while our cur­rent crim­i­nal “catch and re­lease” pol­icy ex­ists.

The QPS is do­ing a great job ap­pre­hend­ing these crim­i­nals and bring­ing them to court, but we of­ten read of re­peat of­fend­ers ap­pear­ing in court in the morn­ing and re­of­fend­ing that same night.

Just one re­cent ex­am­ple con­cerned a se­rial of­fender steer­ing his mo­tor­bike at a QPS of­fi­cer with no other in­ten­tion but to harm the of­fi­cer while try­ing to es­cape. So he re­ceives an im­me­di­ately sus­pended sen­tence and a good be­hav­iour bond, again!

It’s OK to make al­lowances for of­fend­ers from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds when it comes to sen­tenc­ing, but we must draw the line some­where.

To ap­pease ev­ery­one, a “three strikes you’re in” law may be ap­pro­pri­ate in pro­vid­ing a cer­tain amount of le­niency for first- time of­fend­ers.

The first two con­vic­tions will pro­vide for the of­fender to re­ceive all the nec­es­sary in­ter­ven­tion and coun­selling and a stern warn­ing of what is to come next should their crim­i­nal ten­den­cies per­sist.

Af­ter a third con­vic­tion, a manda­tory min­i­mum term of, for ex­am­ple, a year in jail would not be in­ap­pro­pri­ate or un­fair.

It should be ac­tual jail time, not a year with no time served or pa­role af­ter six months.

For each sub­se­quent re­of­fence af­ter re­lease, an ad­di­tional min­i­mum of a year is ac­cu­mu­lated to the min­i­mum sen­tence so a one- year manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence be­comes two years, there­after it be­comes three years, four years and so on.

Let­ting re­of­fend­ers de­ter­mine their own des­tiny as they con­trib­ute to their longer and longer manda­tory sen­tences will even­tu­ally give even the most hard­ened crim­i­nal pause for re­flec­tion.

So­ci­ety, on the other hand, can send them away with a clear con­science know­ing the crim­i­nals were well aware of the con­se­quences, yet still trav­elled their cho­sen path of crime.

Noth­ing will change un­til we ad­dress sen­tenc­ing laws and the con­tempt of­fend­ers have for the QPS, the pub­lic and our ju­di­cial sys­tem, no mat­ter how many mil­lions we throw at polic­ing.

As for a cur­few, that pun­ishes all young­sters all be­cause of a few who really should be be­hind bars.

Palaszczuk and Ni­cholls should also be well aware that we need to en­sure the safety of our QPS of­fi­cers.

Putting re­of­fend­ers be­hind bars would be a good start.

ALAN BIR­RELL, In­de­pen­dent can­di­date for

Mund­ing­burra.

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