Qld police warn vigilantes angered by youth crime wave

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will serve out the week and then quit politics.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will serve out the week and then quit politics. Photo: AAP

A vigilante mob frustrated by the escalating youth crime surrounded homes in central Queensland as police warn against taking the law into their own hands.

Police have called for community calm on Monday after about 80 members of an online crime group staged a volatile protest in Rockhampton on Sunday.

The protesters massed in Central Park in North Rockhampton led by former One Nation candidate Torin O’Brien after public posts on social media.

The group surrounded two homes, banging on windows and doors and yelling at the occupants: “The town wants to talk to you,” protesters yelled.

Capricornia District Superintendent Glen Pointing said dozens of police were called to intervene in order to protect the community.

“I believe one person ran away and that person was chased by a small group of people,” Supt Pointing told reporters on Monday.

“Whilst we understand, appreciate and empathise with the victims of crime, I just want to strongly impress upon people that taking the law into your own hands is fraught with danger.

“There are a number of unintended consequences that can result.”

Supt Pointing said police would ramp up patrols to ensure community calm as investigators review footage of the protests.

Community anger over youth crime rose again last week after three people were killed in a collision involving a stolen Mercedes-Benz allegedly driven by a 13-year-old boy in Maryborough.

Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk and her ministers have defended the government’s response to the issue.

She again acknowledged concerns about the problem on Monday and blamed poor parenting in part for the problem.

“I acknowledge it is unacceptable for this to be happening in our state. We have to take strong action and we are doing that,” she told ABC Radio in Cairns.

“We have given the courts the laws that they can use. It’s up to the courts to use those laws.”

She shifted part of the blame to poor parenting, saying it “takes a village to raise a child”.

“Sometimes these young people don’t have a secure family environment. We acknowledge that and that’s why we’re putting $500 million into early intervention and prevention programs.”

Ms Palaszczuk raised the possibility of building therapeutic detention facilities to better help youths with underlying issues, saying more detail would be included in the June budget.

“Some of these young people have underlying disability issues, they should be diagnosed earlier at a younger age and we’re looking at some measures that we can do that,” she said.

“Some of them have fetal alcohol, and some of these young people have mental health issues.

“These therapeutic centres will be able to give them the support with those mental health issues that they will not have got in previous detention facilities.”


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