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GPS tracking trial not making a dent on youth crime, says opposition


A plan to use GPS trackers to curb youth crime in Queensland has not been put into practice, the state opposition says.

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Since May, Queensland magistrates have been allowed to issue GPS monitoring devices to youth offenders aged between 16 and 17 as a condition of bail.

Under the laws, teens must be charged with a serious offence and have previously been convicted of a serious offence to be fitted for GPS trackers.

The trial is underway in Townsville, North Brisbane, Moreton, Logan and the Gold Coast, but the Liberal National Party says the government is losing control of youth crime.

“I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the fact many Queenslanders no longer feel safe in their neighbourhoods and homes,” Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said.

“It’s time Labor conceded their approach is not working and re-introduce breach of bail as an offence.”

Opposition MP Tim Nicholls says a simple amendment to the Youth Justice Act and Bail Act will provide the security Queenslanders are looking for.

“We’ve seen the government’s six-point action plan – and we supported it. We said we wouldn’t stand in the way of that plan, but we’re seeing that plan fail,” he said on Tuesday.

“We need to empower our police … so that they can intervene, arrest and stop these kids going out and committing that second offence.”

In Townsville up until July, police made 277 juvenile arrests on 1800 charges, while three youth offenders were considered for GPS monitoring bracelets.

Two could not be issued as Townsville’s 4G reception wasn’t strong enough to allow monitoring the teens moving outside the scope of the devices.

Over the weekend, two vehicles were carjacked by juveniles as young as 12, with one found burnt and dumped on Monday morning.

Queensland’s Children and Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard says the government has provided ample avenues to the courts to deal with youth offenders.

“The community expects and the government expects young people who break the law are held to account,” she said in a statement.

“We are focused on serious repeat offenders — the 10 per cent of youth offenders who commit nearly half of the youth crime.

“We have provided the courts with the tools to deal with these young people including the presumption against bail and the GPS monitoring trial.”

The LNP’s push comes after former Australian rugby representative Toutai Kefu was on Monday stabbed by juveniles in his Brisbane home during an attempted burglary.

Kefu was left in a critical condition after trying to defend his family and remains at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Two 15-year-old boys are in custody, while another juvenile, believed to be a male, is wanted by police.

Police have charged one boy with four counts of attempted murder, three counts of grievous bodily harm, and one count each of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, break and enter, burglary and deprivation of liberty.

At least two of the offenders were allegedly out on bail at the time and under curfew.

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