“If the Government wanted to do something in today’s youth crime announcement, it could have backed the police. Instead, it has backed everything but Police, who are working double time to clear the backlog of youth offending after COVID took them off normal duties,” says former Youth Aid Police officer and ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Currently there are thousands of unassigned youth aid cases because police Youth Aid Officers were pulled off cases to do COVID duties like watching MIQ hotels. On top of this, Labour has cut Youth Aid budgets by $10m over the past year.

“As part of our recent Law and Order policy launch, ACT proposed instant, practical penalties for young offenders, giving police the power to deal with offences on the spot. We would also implement a standard annual increase in the Police staffing budget in line with population growth.

“As a former police officer, I look at the increasing dangers that Police are facing and worry for them. Gangs are recruiting much faster than the Police.

“With many years of experience as a Youth Aid Police Officer, I know well the positive impact intervention can have on troubled youth. There needs to be greater involvement in these kids’ lives, before they commit more serious crimes.

“We need to address these problems early and ensure Youth Aid officers still have the tools at their disposal to turn these kids’ lives around. Mollycoddling and wagging fingers won’t help anyone.

“Police need to feel like the Government supports them. Right now, it doesn’t.”

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Chris Baillie