Mackay Youth Co-Responder Team Marks Three Years

Minister for Police and Community Safety The Honourable Mark Ryan
  • Mackay Youth Co-Responder Team has completed 5,032 engagements as it marks three years of early intervention operations.
  • YCRTs bring together a police officer and youth justice worker to proactively engage at-risk young people and their families and refer them to support services.
  • YCRTs have rolled out in 13 locations across Queensland since 2020.

The Mackay Youth Co-Responder Team (YCRT) has completed more than 5,000 engagements as it marks three years working to intervene in the lives of at-risk young people and tackle the issue of youth offending.

The YCRT is a joint initiative between Queensland Police Service and the Department of Youth Justice, which brings together a police officer and a youth justice professional to proactively engage at-risk young people and their families and refer them to services to address the underlying issues contributing to their offending behaviour.

Mackay YCRT launched in March 2021, and in the three years since has achieved 2,089 direct face-to-face engagements with young people and 2,943 engagements with family, guardians, and other support networks.

YCRTs provide practical support from patrols of high-traffic areas for at-risk young people, to home visits with youth and their family, de-escalating conflicts, transporting young people to safety and to attend programs and services, interacting with support agencies, and exploring ways to divert young people from the youth justice system.

Vulnerable young people are also connected with the services they need to turn their lives around, including those that assist with housing, health, domestic and family violence, education, and employment.

Youth Co-Responder Teams have rolled out in 13 police districts since 2020.

Quotes attributable to Minister Mark Ryan:

“The safety of Queenslanders is our first priority, and it’s initiatives like the Youth Co-Responder model which shows the dedicated work government agencies are doing together to reduce offending and protect the public.

“While just one tactic in the fight against youth crime, we know that early intervention has the power to stop at-risk young people from going down the road towards a life of crime.

“I commend the Mackay Youth Co-Responder Team and those across the state for their dedicated work in connecting young people with the support they need to be contributing members of their communities.”

Quotes attributable to Acting Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard:

“We know community safety is a real concern for Queenslanders, that’s why we are supporting programs like these that are tackling the root causes of crime.

“Our priority first and foremost will always be protecting Queenslanders and supporting victims.

“While our laws put the most serious offenders in detention, we are focussed on stopping the pipeline of young people entering the youth justice system.

“I’ve seen first-hand how bringing together the expertise of youth workers with the skill of police can build positive relationships with young people.

“Every time a young person interacts with the Youth Co-Responder Team is a chance for change and a step-forward in the early intervention space, which is making a difference in keeping our communities safe every day.”

Quotes attributable to Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert:

“I’ve seen the work the Youth Co-Responder teams do and it is a critical aspect of intervening to make a difference in young people’s lives.

“Prevention is always better than cure and if we can get to young people before they become entrenched in a cycle of offending then they are better off and so is the rest of the community.”

Quotes attributable to Mackay District Officer, Superintendent Graeme Paine:

“While officers are on the ground proactively protecting the public and arresting serious repeat offenders, our Youth Co-Responder Teams are in the background doing the work to prevent at-risk young people from heading down that path to begin with.

“Every time our Youth Co-Responder Teams engage with a young person, not only is it an opportunity to direct them away from offending, but also to check on their welfare and what support they need to contribute positively to our community.

“Through building rapport and fostering positive relationships with the young people of Mackay, we can help intervene and prevent future offending, to enhance community safety.

“Our YCRT are an incredible support to the frontline in Mackay, and work closely to identify at-risk young people and refer them to services they need.”

Quotes attributable to Department of Youth Justice Regional Director David Olsen:

“The Youth Co-Responder model demonstrates how government agencies can work together to reduce offending and protect the public.

“By engaging with young people on the street, in their homes, at a local park or a shopping centre, we can prevent them from heading to the courthouse.

“The team help young people grappling with domestic violence or drug addiction, as well as those who are simply hungry or need a bed.

“They’ve also transported young people home if they’re engaging in anti-social behaviour, helped to find missing children, and assisted families in crisis.

“I’m confident we’re making a difference, for both young individuals and the community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.