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Letter from the frontline: What a Cairns police officer has to say about the city's youth crime

A Cairns police officer has made a series of explosive revelations about the youth crime crisis facing Cairns in an open letter to Tropic Now.

The self-described "burned-out" officer - who asked to remain anonymous - described a revolving door of serious and violent youth offending, which they say police are powerless to control.

In a rare insight into the frontline battle against youth offending, the local officer spoke out about "incredibly dangerous" and "significantly under-reported" youth crime in the city.

They blamed the State Government's Youth Justice Act amendments for hampering law enforcement and disrespecting victims.



Letter from a Cairns police officer

Youth crime is out of control.

We are burned out.

We cannot control the crime as it’s a rotating door where youth are re-offending again before I even finish my paperwork.

We are throwing so many resources at catching juvenile offenders that we cannot investigate other crime, including sexual crimes against children by *peds. Too busy dealing with kids and 4-5 violent robberies every night.

Some of us are working 12-14 hour days every day. Yes, it’s all paid overtime but we are burned out and tired.

The crimes being committed are violent and include rape by juveniles upon children. This wasn’t reported but a child raped two adults two nights ago, one at a business on Anderson St and one near Reservoir Road.

We have a 'bail hub' program. We have youth we try and work with to help them by having police take these children on fun things like out to the reef, fishing, walking, indoor sports activities.

The program has children on it that include those that two days ago bashed that girl on video. Clearly the program doesn’t work. Yet the next day, this girl was being treated to ice cream and laser tag. There is also a youth rapist amongst these.

The touted NEW Youth Justice Act now prevents us from interviewing children and *ATSILS and youth legal aid block any attempts to interview children or identify co-offenders through these interviews.

Victims are left to pick up the pieces as there is zero punishment, it’s essentially, sorry you were bashed (like a person at a shopping centre with permanent brain damage last week). The offender was cautioned as this is what the Youth Justice Act requires.

Every offence gets bail objected to and yet they are let out. There is no room at *Townsville and offenders are being let out the back door.

We as police are being criticised of racial profiling and arresting too many ATSIs however we only arrest those that commit crimes.

Policing our way out of this is too late and a reward for committing offences (bail hub) is disgusting and a f--k you to the victims.

Bail breaches are also ignored as they’re no longer an offence. Breach your curfew that’s ok, threaten your victim that’s ok.

Cairns is incredibly dangerous and the crime is significantly under reported.



*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service

*Cleveland Youth Detention Centre