LAST BLASTS STRIKE FARCE

Teams shy of 24/7 plan

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SHAYLA BUL­LOCH

THE crack “po­lice 24/7 strike team” spruiked by the State Gov­ern­ment to tar­get hard-knock youth of­fend­ers has sen­sa­tion­ally fiz­zled.

The Townsville Bul­letin can re­veal the “strike team” is in fact three to four added shifts per week.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Mark Ryan made the prom­ise in March as part of the La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s five-point plan to tackle youth crime in Townsville.

The strike teams, which of­fi­cially rolled out this week, con­sist of a youth jus­tice worker and po­lice of­fi­cer work­ing to­gether on pa­trols in un­marked po­lice cars.

Mr Ryan promised the teams would be “24/7”, but the hand­ful of ad­di­tional shifts has frus­trated Op­po­si­tion spokesman for North­ern Queens­land Dale Last.

“The com­mu­nity has been hurt for so long … and not to get this right … is just not good enough,” he said.

A CRACK “po­lice 24/7 strike team” spruiked by the State Gov­ern­ment to tar­get hard­knock youth of­fend­ers has sen­sa­tion­ally fiz­zled.

The Bul­letin can re­veal the “strike team” is in fact three to four added shifts per week.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Mark Ryan made the prom­ise in March as part of the La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s five-point plan to tackle youth crime in Townsville.

The strike teams, which of­fi­cially rolled out this week, con­sist of a Youth Jus­tice worker and po­lice of­fi­cer work­ing to­gether on pa­trols in un­marked po­lice cars.

Mr Ryan promised the teams would be “24/7”, but the hand­ful of ad­di­tional shifts has frus­trated Op­po­si­tion North­ern Queens­land spokesman Dale Last.

“The com­mu­nity has been hurt for so long around this is­sue and for the Gov­ern­ment not to get this right … is just not good enough,” he said.

“The task force has the po­ten­tial to be a huge help in this com­mu­nity, and the fact that it’s now be­ing wa­tered down to this ex­tent puts a ques­tion mark around that.”

The State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced the $10 mil­lion five­point plan to tackle the crime scourge af­ter an un­prece­dented joint cam­paign by the Townsville Bul­letin and Cairns Post pushed for change.

The plan in­cluded more fund­ing for com­mu­nity-based crime ac­tion com­mit­tees, cul­ture-based on-coun­try pro­grams and tougher ac­tion on bail.

Youth Min­is­ter Di Farmer said the Gov­ern­ment had lis­tened to feed­back from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and all as­pects of the five-point plan were due to be up and run­ning in July.

“These new mea­sures are aimed at hard­core of­fend­ers and leave no doubt that the safety of the com­mu­nity al­ways comes first,” she said.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands the pa­trols will run a few days per week for on-call and pa­trolling work­ers.

Townsville District Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Craig Han­lon said the roster would be mon­i­tored and as­sessed where nec­es­sary.

LNP can­di­date for Townsville John Hath­away said the com­mu­nity would be dis­ap­pointed with the “sim­ple win­dow dress­ing”.

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