ONE YEAR ON: It is a year since Police Minister Mark Ryan, Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon and Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham addressed community safety concerns at a press conference.
ONE YEAR ON: It is a year since Police Minister Mark Ryan, Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon and Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham addressed community safety concerns at a press conference. Michael Nolan

Empathetic approach key to tackling youth crime

CHERBOURG elders will work alongside police in helping prevent youth crime in the South Burnett.

Murgon Senior Sergeant Steve Stewart said the elders had been "very enthusiastic” in taking part in training to get involved in the program which had a proven track record of having a positive impact in other communities.

"We are currently commencing a program of engaging elders from the Cherbourg community addressing youth crime in the cautioning process,” he said.

"Rather than prosecuting a youth, depending on the type of crime, police can issue a warning and that will involve the elders on some occasions.”

It is a year since there was an increase in police presence in the Murgon and Cherbourg region to specifically target youth crime.

There has not been the same spike in crime this year and Snr Sgt Stevens said this was on account of a variety of strategies being used in the community by government and non-government agencies and council that are having a positive affect.

"From what I have seen the community engagement from meeting and involvement from the volunteers it has had engagement from local leaders and businesses and they have developed an empathetic approach and more of an understanding that was affected their (young offenders) lives,” he said.

While the current strategies are making a difference Snr Sgt Stevens said the community needed to continue to work together into the future.

"The community has to be aware that we have to be on top of all these programs and evolve the programs. We have to keep youth engaged,” he said.

"We can never ease off and think we are on top of it.”