South Brisbane now has a new youth co-responder team patrolling our streets. Their mission is to end to the cycle of youth crime in the area.

The teams are composed of police and youth justice workers providing 24/7 practical support, including de-escalating conflicts, transporting young people to safety, interacting with support agencies, and exploring ways to divert young people from the youth justice system. They also connect vulnerable young people with services that can assist with housing, health, domestic and family violence, and education.

Co-responder teams have been progressively established around the state since 2020, interacting with young people more than 64,000 times.

The South Brisbane team will be based at the Oxley Police Academy and will cover suburbs in the Queensland Police Service South Brisbane District, including Mount Gravatt, Camp Hill, Morningside, West End and the Redlands.

“Co-responder teams work to stop crime before it happens,” Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer said.

“Every time they engage with a young person, not only is it an opportunity to stop them from reoffending, but they also get to check on their welfare.

“We need to target the root causes of offending – and that’s exactly what co-responders do.”

The Minister said young people who offend have often experienced violence, homelessness, poverty, disengagement from education, substance abuse and neglect, and the lack of a single adult to walk alongside them in their life. 

“There is no doubt that these young people have suffered disadvantage.

“That’s why services like the one we’re announcing today are incredibly important. Not only because we’re stopping people from reoffending, but because we are actually referring them to the services they need.”

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the co-responder teams complement the extreme high-viz police patrols in disrupting and preventing offending behaviour.

“It’s so important that we have these teams in place because they ensure that at-risk youths get the supports they need at the earliest opportunity.”

The model was trialled in Townsville, Cairns and Mount Isa, Moreton, Rockhampton and teams are now also based in Logan, Mackay, North Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Asked how the team will link with the West End Station given they are based at Oxley, a QPS spokesperson said their borderless model of policing ensures the workforce is agile and adaptable, and not restricted by traditional policing boundaries.

“We are committed to delivering modern, mobile and flexible policing across Queensland, including the Youth Co-responder Team who patrol the streets and other areas where young people congregate, to engage with youth, families, and the wider community right across South Brisbane District regardless of where they are based.”

South Brisbane youth co-responder officer Matt Goldsmith said the team’s focus is on intervening early to prevent crime.

“I’m sure we will be able to make a difference in the South Brisbane area as part of our commitment to community safety.”

Cover image, iStock – Credit, Motortion