A thousand arrests ‘just the beginning’ for youth crime Rapid Response Taskforce

More than 1,000 arrests have been made in a ten-month Queensland police crackdown targeting high risk youth offenders with a senior officer warning the taskforce’s work was “far from over”.


Feb 29, 2024, updated Feb 29, 2024
File image of a young person being taken into custody by police. (ABC image)

File image of a young person being taken into custody by police. (ABC image)

Taskforce Guardian has arrested 1114 offenders, including 968 youth offenders on 3159 charges, across the state since May last year.

More than 140 adults have been arrested on a total of 306 charges.

Some of the charges are for offences including wilful damage, enter dwelling with intent, enter premise and commit indictable offence, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and stealing.

The figures were released in a joint statement from Police Minister Mark Ryan and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) yesterday.

The rapid response team is made up of QPS detectives and youth justice workers who work with local police and support services targeting youth crime.

QPS Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Massingham said the taskforce’s job “is far from over”.

“One thousand arrests state-wide is just the beginning for the Taskforce…as long as there continues to be youth offending, we will continue to provide unwavering support to the community,” he said in a statement.

“Taskforce Guardian has been instrumental in assisting local police to not only arrest youth offenders, but also divert youths away from offending and provide referrals to appropriate support services,” Mr Massingham said.

Taskforce Guardian has been on 55 deployments across the state with recent operations in Townsville, Cairns and South Brisbane, the statement said.

Mr Ryan said the combined expertise of the taskforce and local police allows investigators to “saturate hot spot areas and target recidivist offenders”.

It also enables youth workers to engage with young people, he said.

“I commend police and their partners for their dedication in not only arresting young offenders who put the community at risk, but continually working to engage young people and divert them away from a life of crime.

“We can assure all Queenslanders that their safety will always be the priority, and that these efforts to address youth crime are continuing at full force,” the Minister said in the statement.

The deployment in South Brisbane with local police targeted recidivist property offenders with four youth offenders arrested on 16 charges and three adults were charged with 15 offences.

A two-month deployment to Townsville since January netted 140 people on 412 charges which included 128 young people on 385 charges and 12 adults on 27 charges for mostly property crime or bail offences.

Taskforce Guardian works closely with key support services and local resources to connect at risk youth with health, education, disability services and First Nations initiatives.


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