Community safety and crime prevention
The Queensland Police Service is committed to protecting all members of the community and working with at-risk people to divert them from the criminal justice system where appropriate and effective. The QPS provides funding for crime prevention projects across the state through the Community Crime Prevention Fund. The Fund supports partnerships between the QPS and community groups to develop local responses to local problems. In 2009-10 a diverse range of projects were funded including:
Sporting carnival helps find a way
About 50 Indigenous students from secondary schools throughout Brisbane West District pitted their skills against police in a sporting carnival promoting good health and community engagement.
The Which Way Touch Football Carnival was held at West Mitchelton Rugby League Club in July. Students from Everton Park, Ferny Grove, Mitchelton and The Gap State High Schools competed, along with Southside Education, an independent school for Indigenous women at Sunnybank. Police Liaison Officers, uniformed, and plain clothes police comprised the Brisbane West District police team. This sporting carnival was initiated by police from Brisbane West District and developed in partnership with Queensland Health, Education Queensland and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The carnival aimed to foster good relations between police and Indigenous youth, discourage truancy and risk-taking behaviour, and promote the culturally appropriate anti-smoking messages ‘Smoking—it can cost us the game’ and ‘Tobacco could cost us our culture’.
Beenleigh Together Against Truancy (BTAT) Program
An initiative of the Beenleigh Police-Citizens Youth Club—The Beenleigh Together Against Truancy (BTAT) Program—is the first of its kind in Australia, and is run in partnership with the QPS, local businesses and Beenleigh and Windaroo State High Schools.
BTAT has been operating since the beginning of the 2009 school year. Local police and the Beenleigh School Based Police Officer are involved in the program, working closely with the schools to address truancy rates and reduce juvenile related offences.
As a result of the program, a significant reduction in truancy has been reported by both high schools.
South Burnett Police-Citizens Youth Club
Local and regional police staff in North Coast Region worked closely with the Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association and the community to establish the South Burnett Police-Citizens Youth Club, which was officially opened on 1 December 2009. This facility provides services to young people in the South Burnett area, including Indigenous youth at Cherbourg. The club has commenced a number of innovative youth and family based crime prevention activities including basketball after dark, hip hop classes, dance parties and a portable open air movie cinema.
Kids Living Safer Lives
The Kids Living Safer Lives is an umbrella program for activities run in Far Northern Region. It operates in Indigenous communities and seeks to address issues associated with anti-social behaviour. The program has been acknowledged by winning the 2009 Department of Communities Domestic and Family Violence Award and the 2010 Child Protection Week Award – Youth Participation.
Positive role models for youth
Police in Metropolitan South Region are conducting a number of initiatives aimed at providing positive male role models for at-risk youth, including those from Indigenous and Pacific Islander backgrounds. The Inala PCYC has partnered with community organisations to ensure the successful management and operation of the Men’s Shed. The Men’s Shed project is designed to offer mentoring and training by retired tradesmen from within the Inala community to young men who do not have a positive male role model in their lives.
The Exit Project is designed to provide positive police role models for youth at risk of long term involvement in the justice system. The project, a partnership between Oxley Police District and the Department of Communities’ Western Districts Youth Justice Service and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre has a particular focus on youth who are either in custody, on court orders or awaiting sentencing within the justice system.
Changing the Cycle
Changing the Cycle is one of the programs being conducted in Northern Region supporting Indigenous youth. This initiative of the Mornington Island PCYC is a multi-faceted crime prevention strategy which has achieved a positive impact for Mornington Island youth and children. The program was awarded the inaugural QPCYWA Crime Prevention Award.
The ‘Drugs suck’ campaign was conducted in Central Region in the lead up to Schoolies Week. The campaign replaced the ‘Dob in a Druggie’ slogan with the new slogan ‘DRUGS SUCK the life out of communities’. A positive outcome of the project was Crime Stoppers received an increase in drug related calls and police recorded an increase in the numbers of arrests, charges and drug seizures following the response to the campaign.
Neighbourhood Watch Queensland (NHWQ) has been successful in building community cohesion and improving relationships between neighbours to help reduce crime and the fear of crime. It has a strong and committed volunteer base and is a well recognised program within the community. There are currently 540 active Neighbourhood Watch areas in Queensland. Of these, approximately 50 are in rural areas.
In 2009-10 NHWQ launched a new NHWQ community website, developed statewide electronic district-based Crime Bulletin newsletters and released the NHW Queensland Strategy 2009-2013.
Future priorities include working in partnership with Emergency Management Queensland and the Australian Red Cross to develop disaster preparedness strategies, promoting and developing property security strategies and trialling Unit Watch, a program which addresses seniors’ isolation and their fear of crime.