Minister says Nanango MP is ‘ignorant’ to police operations
QUEENSLAND police minister Mark Ryan has hit out at Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington for being "ignorant of significant police operations" to combat youth crime in the South Burnett.
"She constantly criticises police, even when they conduct specific operations to support community safety in her electorate," he said.
"While she complains about police, they are getting on with the job.
"The Member for Nanango is apparently ignorant of significant police operations and activity in her own electorate."
Ms Frecklington has thrown her support behind more than 1600 South Burnett residents who have signed a petition calling for a curfew for the Murgon area and has been working with the community in sending letters to Mr Ryan for additional police for night and weekend shifts.
"Youth crime in Murgon and Cherbourg remains a problem and it is distressing to see it is on the rise again with these recent incidents," she said.
"The Minister's response to all our requests have simply been to fob us off.
"We need long-term solutions to address the issue of youth crime."
The call for a curfew and more police follows continuous offences committed by juveniles, including in recent weeks.
On October 27, a 12-year-old boy allegedly stole a car from Kingaroy, evaded police on the Bruce Highway and was stopped by police stingers in Ipswich.
Also on October 27, police arrested a 12-year-old boy in relation to 14 drug and alcohol offences and burglary in Kingaroy.
A 12-year-old boy lashed a boy with a knife during a street fight in Cherbourg on October 26.
A 13-year-old girl was arrested in Murgon for attempting to steal a car at knifepoint at the Murgon IGA car park on October 18.
Also in Murgon, a 12-year-old boy was arrested and dealt with under the Youth Justice Act for allegedly stealing a car at knifepoint on October 14.
Mr Ryan said the QPS would continue to work with the Murgon and Cherbourg communities to detect and disrupt criminal behaviour through community engagement and proactive policing strategies to prevent future offending," a QPS spokesman said.
The Cherbourg Heightened Response continues to deliver results for the Cherbourg and Murgon communities, with the QPS facilitating a number of programs including working with local Elders to deliver Barambah Youth Together Evenings at the PCYC to provide activities for local juveniles and RESTART provides a platform to reintegrate suspended or disengaged children back into local schools.
The QPS have indicated the success of these programs, particularly BYTE Night which is largely a volunteer program supported by members of the Murgon community.
The QPS also continues to work with at-risk juveniles in remote communities as part of the Blue Edge and Cherbourg Junior Rangers Programs to divert them from the youth justice system through empowerment, development of life skills and increasing their self-confidence.