As Mount Isa continues to grapple with youth crime and the complexities that surround it, it is important to continue the difficult conversation to search for possible paths towards alleviation however big or small.
The North West Star sat down with acting Superintendent Andrew Gillies of Mount Isa Police District to talk about these possible forms of alleviation, how and if they are possible and to consider what the public has been informing us.
Acting Superintendent Andrew Gillies:
We are considering a whole bunch of options to ease Mount Isa youth crime but we can't just do it on our own.
First and foremost it is really important that the public report all crimes that are committed, because if nothings reported we don't know if a crime has occurred and it won't go on our system.
Our officers are aware of the youth crime crisis and do a vast amount of work before, during and after hours with initiatives to help reduce youth crime, particularly The Youth Zone who are doing some unbelievable work throughout the community.
With regard to the community speaking about our patrolling, we have patrol cars that are designed to not go to jobs and to drive around hot spots throughout the community 24/7.
In fact we are the only organisation in Mount Isa that run 24 hours a day, with constant patrolling playing a role in that.
When talking about a bilateral state agreement with the Northern Territory we do work with police from the Northern Territory and conduct cross boarder checks quite often.
They are always beneficial. Last year we did about five near the Camooweal boarder working with the police officers there. There is some higher level talk to be able to get some more cross boarder checks for sure.
We as the State of Queensland are after legislative change to be able to arrest people from Northern Territory who have warrants out against them. I know that South Australia can, but for what ever reason Queensland can't.
Our Police Liaison Officers do a great job particularly with our Indigenous youth, I don't necessarily think we need more in Mount Isa but definitely in other parts of the North West they need more.
We are aware some kids are not attending school or are even registered for school. That's where the families need to step up and make sure their children are receiving an education. Initiatives like the Youth Hub and Community Connect are trying really hard to curb this behaviour from happening.
When we hear about a late night curfew there already are individual curfews that are in place on criminals who are on bail. Curfews are a judicial issue and if someone breaks a curfew that has been put on them it acts as a breach of bail and they will be put before the courts.
As opposed to an overall curfew it just doesn't exist and probably never will. I couldn't see how it is not against human rights in general.
We also hear about relocation sentencing but the thing is this is legislative so we have no say, and the Queensland Attorney-General recently squashed all talks on the possible solution.
Overall it is such a complex issue and I understand the communities frustration, the reality is that it has been like this for a very long time, this hasn't just begun recently.
I have a lot of confidence in the Youth Hub, there are a lot of kids just wondering the streets late at night. That for me is always a flag, if these kids are bored they will do something for kicks.
If we can get these kids off the streets, into either education or jobs and have them actually wanting to do it then we can make progress, the question is how do you do that.
What we have been doing for 30 odd years now is clearly not working and it could be time for new angles.
One thing that is clear to me is that if we put these kids together who are committing crimes in detention centres all that does get them to teach each other how to continue to be a criminal and re-offending is a large issue.
I can assure you our police do a tremendous job and work very hard to curb youth crime here in Mount Isa every single day.
While you are here subscribe to our weekly email to your inbox at 6am every Friday