Police launch youth gangs taskforce – rising violence, weapons in southeast

Queensland police have launched a crackdown on youth gangs after an uptick in violent assault, weapons offences and fraud in the state’s southeast.


Feb 24, 2022, updated Feb 24, 2022
Detective Superintendent Brendan Smith is leading a new task force. (Image: ABC)

Detective Superintendent Brendan Smith is leading a new task force. (Image: ABC)

Detective Superintendent Brendan Smith is leading a new task force, which started work on February 14 but was officially unveiled on Thursday.

He says a small cohort of people in their teens to mid-20s from a diverse range of backgrounds are behind a rise in serious personal violence, property, weapon and serious fraud offences, as well as public disturbances.

“The taskforce will be acting and building on existing intelligence, which shows the offending involves a small cohort that identify as part of criminal street gangs, who are from diverse backgrounds and range in age from early teens to mid-twenties,” Detective Superintendent Smith said.

“Some of the crimes we’re seeing are opportunistic crimes or inter-gang crimes, therefore the task force is committed to responding to this unacceptable and unsafe behaviour before it escalates any further.”

He said police would work with community groups and government departments to prevent and deter youths at risk of joining gangs and to help those who want to leave.

“We know the underlying drivers of these crimes are complex including social disadvantage and disengagement,” Det Supt Smith said in a statement.

“This cohort of youths are drawn together for various reasons and at times are involved in serious crimes. It is this behaviour we need to address collectively.”

Taskforce Uniform Knot will include police, community organisations and community leaders in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

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“Police and community partnerships are fundamental for societal crime prevention and fostering a conducive society which is why the taskforce is taking a coordinated and collaborative approach and considering a range of prevention and deterrent measures including for those at risk of joining these criminal street gangs, along with exit pathways for those wanting to leave,” Smith said.

The Taskforce will work with police districts, partner agencies, community organisations and leaders and members of the public to deter and respond to offending.

Led by the Organised Crime Gangs Group, the taskforce includes representatives from Brisbane, Southern and South Eastern Regions, First Nations and Multicultural Affairs Unit and the Youth Justice Unit. This provides pathways to change offender behaviour through external partners.

The Taskforce defines a criminal street gang as: any durable, street-oriented youth group, encompassing teenagers and young adults, whose involvement in illegal activity is part of its group identity.


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