Claims young criminals have been moved into a regional city
A GROUP of hardcore child criminals from a western Queensland town have been brought to live in an already crime-ravaged Townsville, and the State Government claims it knows nothing about it.
The Townsville Bulletin can confirm a group of about 10 children have been brought to the city from Mount Isa because of a shortage of beds at residential care placements in the west.
The group of children were flagged with district police in an email this week as serious property offenders who had been transferred to residential accommodation in Townsville, which is enduring its sixth consecutive week of a relentless spate of crime.
Despite this, the Youth Justice Department claims it knows nothing of the sort.
"The department is not aware of a group of 10 juveniles being referred to," a spokeswoman for the Youth Justice Department said.
A spokesman for Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard said she had "nothing further to add".
All 10 children remain active in the community, with sources saying some were involved in crime just hours after they arrived.
Opposition spokesman for Police and Burdekin MP Dale Last said the decision was grossly out of touch.
"What we are effectively seeing is the Queensland Labor government giving up on dealing with these young offenders in certain areas and, instead of doing the right thing, they are moving them around and making them someone else's problem," Mr Last said.
"Moving hardened young offenders to the Townsville district is yet another illustration of Labor's failure when it comes to addressing youth crime."
It comes after a horror month of crime for the region, with police recording 153 unlawful use of a motor vehicle offences, and 579 break-ins at homes or businesses in May.
It was the highest number of property offences recorded in the Townsville District in more than a year.
Northern Region Assistant Commissioner Mark Wheeler said police worked around the clock rounding up youth offenders from Townsville, and those in the city from other regions.
"We acknowledge from time to time, for various reasons, that some juveniles come into Townsville," Mr Wheeler said.
"Police are out there working 24/7 to round all of them up."
A spokeswoman from the Youth Justice Department said "all attempts" were usually made to keep Mount Isa children in their community.
"When young people have had to be placed elsewhere the department aims to relocate them back to Mount Isa as soon as possible," she said.
Mr Last said additional space should be created for Mount Isa kids in care, instead of adding "to Townsville's woes".
The department spokeswoman said there are five residential care services in Mount Isa, with another to open soon to meet "increased demand" of child safety placements in the town.
Originally published as Young crims moved into Townsville in Govt 'failure'