Mark Ryan says he’d need crystal ball to know when juvenile detention crisis will end
Mark Ryan says he’d need crystal ball to know when juvenile detention crisis will end

$1m in overtime as police ‘babysit’ juvies

THE Palaszczuk Government says it doesn't know when it will solve the youth detention crisis clogging police watch houses because it doesn't "have a crystal ball".

Police Minister Mark Ryan made the admission amid revelations taxpayers have picked up a $1 million police overtime bill as officers are forced to "babysit" juvenile delinquents in watch houses.

But even as up to 80 children a day languish for as long as 35 days in short-term holding cells, the Government insists it has not botched its transition of 17-year-olds from adult jails into youth detention centres.

Police Minister Mark Ryan says he would need a crystal ball to know when the crisis in the state’s youth detention centres will end.
Police Minister Mark Ryan says he would need a crystal ball to know when the crisis in the state’s youth detention centres will end.

The Government came under fresh pressure yesterday with news the yearly overtime bill had tripled in just nine months to $927,000 because the state's two youth detention centres are already full.

Mr Ryan refused to back down on the policy but said he had no idea when the system would be able to handle the influx of children.

"I don't have a crystal ball but what we will do is detain young people in accordance with law," he said.

Youth Minister Di Farmer denied any failure and instead blamed a "range of reasons" for the crisis.

"Significant planning was undertaken with projections on likely youth detention centre populations, we have seen significant spikes in a number of factors in this last 12 months that were certainly not predicted," she said.

Former Queensland Police commissioner Bob Atkinson with Youth Minister Di Farmer and Police Minister Mark Ryan discuss the Government’s youth justice strategy.
Former Queensland Police commissioner Bob Atkinson with Youth Minister Di Farmer and Police Minister Mark Ryan discuss the Government’s youth justice strategy.

They included more children being arrested, using ice and chroming, she said.

She said there was a spike now but the Government planned to "break the cycle" and stop young people reoffending and "stop the numbers from increasing in the future".

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said police "babysitters" were the outcome of a failure to properly plan and called for the Government to admit its mistakes and put 17-year-olds back in adult jails until it could build enough beds.

Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is angry police have been forced to work as “babysitters” to deal with the overcrowded youth detention centres.
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is angry police have been forced to work as “babysitters” to deal with the overcrowded youth detention centres.

"We're at breaking point. It's obvious the Palaszczuk Government need to backtrack on their plan," she said.

"Watchhouses are not equipped to be long term accommodation for our children.

"If the Government's botched implementation of one of their failed policies hasn't worked, then they need to be big about it and change it back to how it was until they get a plan that will actually work."