POLL: Tougher punishments for juvenile car thieves?
POLL: Should there be tougher punishments for juvenile car thieves?
This poll ended on 08 August 2015.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
In the latest edition of the Police Union's Police Journal, the Central Region representative attacked the justice system for not being tough enough on juvenile offenders.
Sergeant Feldman said in Central Queensland, there was always some juvenile in a stolen vehicle attempting to goad and engage police in pursuits by committing hooning offences outside police stations and at major intersections.
"The police are told: don't engage," Sergeant Feldman said.
"We have had owners of stolen vehicles following them and reporting their location to police, only to see police momentarily engage the offenders in an attempted intercept under blue light and siren and then be called off the chase because the offenders have not stopped and have committed a minor breach of the TORUM.
"They used to hang horse thieves, and though our cars are now 20 times more expensive than those horses, the courts think nothing of the expense or trauma the theft causes.
"Such is the quality of car security systems these days that stealing a car usually requires a house to be broken into and the keys to be stolen from that house.
"Next to the house, the car is usually the second most expensive item we purchase in our lives, and we need that car to earn our livelihood."
While he's not saying we should start exercising capital punishment on offenders, Sgt Feldman said a tougher stance needed to be taken.
"Magistrates are more likely to let them go, and release these prolific, recidivist offenders back into the society they are perpetrating offences against," he said.
"I live and work in the community that I represent and protect.
"My community does not want to see their homes broken into and their cars stolen, wrecked, destroyed or used in the commission of other criminal offences.
"My community wants to see these criminals, juveniles or otherwise, captured, prosecuted and locked up for the offences they have committed.
"The cry from the community is 'build bigger jails'."
Sgt Feldman's comments come after two Queensland officers were stood down and investigated over the capture of two alleged criminals.
"I was sickened to hear of two union members being stood down and investigated over the capture of a (alleged) dangerous, drug-addicted scumbag who (allegedly) attempted to kill a cab driver with an axe and his 'moll', who in the pursuit rammed police vehicles and then attempted to run down and kill two of Queensland's finest police officers," Sgt Feldman said.
"Our men and women in blue, recognising the extreme danger this pair posed to the public, put their own lives in danger.
"Instead of running away, they ran to the sound of the guns and captured the enraged gent that very night after a short pursuit, which prevented further violent criminal activity against innocent members of the public.
"And after these heroic acts, what was our Queensland police hierarchy's response to these officers upholding their oath of office to protect their community and the public of Queensland in general?
"Suspension from duty (stand down) and transfer (re-deployment).
"Is this what the public of Queensland want? The overwhelming response on social media and talkback radio was no."
A Queensland Police spokesperson declined to comment on the incident but said hooning was taken very seriously.
"Regarding an incident referred to in the Police Union's Police Journal, the matter remains under investigation by ESC and it would be inappropriate to make further comment," the spokesperson said.
"The Queensland Police Service is fundamentally committed to community safety. Consequently, all potentially high-risk police activities, including pursuits, are subject to significant monitoring, scrutiny and review.
"In December 2011, the QPS revised its pursuit policy to incorporate recommendations made by the Queensland State Coroner following an earlier inquest. These changes were designed to recognise the safety of officers and the community as being paramount.
"Where a pursuit has taken place in a manner that is not consistent or compliant with service policy and guidelines, investigations are undertaken. The circumstances may result in internal disciplinary action being taken.
"The QPS is committed to removing hooning behaviour from Rockhampton roads and regularly conduct operations targeting hooning offences in the region. Following the introduction of Australia's toughest anti-hooning laws in 2013, repeat hooning offenders are now more likely to have their vehicle impounded or forfeited.
"Penalties for evading police has also been increased to a mandatory $5500 fine and a two-year loss of licence."
A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Magistrate declined to comment.
QLD POLICE CHASES
- 832 police pursuits since December 19, 2011, to June 30, 2015, with 44 associated crashes
- 1066 police pursuits from July 2008 to December 18, 2011, with 206 associated crashes