The Queensland government will allow courts to fit GPS tracking devices to 16 and 17-year-old offenders in a statewide youth crime crackdown.
Repeat teen offenders will be fitted with GPS trackers and there will be presumption against bail for those charged with serious offences in a youth crime crackdown in Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched a strict response after a series of road deaths involving young offenders, including a Brisbane couple and their unborn baby boy and a female motorcyclist in Townsville.
The premier is targeting about 400 hardcore, recidivist juvenile offenders who are responsible for almost half of all youth crime in the state.
“We are targeting those 10 per cent of repeat offenders that are doing very serious crimes, such as serious sexual assault and robbery and breaking and enters,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“They will feel the full force of the law when it comes to our changes on bail.”
The government will allow courts to order GPS trackers to be fitted to repeat offenders aged 16 and 17 as a condition of bail.
Judges and magistrates will also have a presumption against bail for offenders who commit serious indictable offences such as breaking and entering, sexual assault and armed robbery while on bail.
Parents and guardians will have to provide assurances to courts that bail conditions will be met before young offenders are released.
Youth justice laws will also be amended to ensure they note that the community must be protected from recidivist offenders and that offending on bail is an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes.
Anti-hooning laws will be strengthened to make the registered vehicle owners responsible for crimes, unless their vehicle is stolen or if they can identify another driver.
Gold Coast police will be kitted with metal detector wands to search youths for knives and a parliamentary inquiry will also examine a rollout of remote engine immobilisers for vehicles.
Former police anti-terrorism commander Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon has been appointed to lead a new youth crime task force co-ordinating the crackdown.
Ms Palaszczuk says former police commissioner Bob Atkinson will also evaluate the plan after six months.
“Now it’s not going to happen overnight, let me be very clear about that, it is going to take time, but that is why we have put in place a suite of measures that will be rolled out, and they will be evaluated, and the public will be kept up to date about what actions we are taking,” she said.
The issue has become highly charged following the deaths of pedestrians Kate Leadbetter, who was pregnant, and her partner Matt Field when they were struck by an allegedly stolen car driven by a teenager in Alexandra Hills on January 26.
Calls for reform increased with the death of 22-year-old motorcyclist Jennifer Board at Thuringowa on Friday night. She was hit by a Holden Statesman, which had allegedly been following a stolen Hyundai sedan during a suspected vigilante pursuit.
A 25-year-old Bushland Beach man who was allegedly driving the Holden has been charged with murder.
Two 18-year-old men, from Rasmussen and Garbutt, were also charged over the fatal crash.