BeCA attended a meeting with Cr Baberowski, Council workers and local police to discuss concerns which have been raised regarding the behaviour of groups of youths around Canavan Gracie Recreational Park and to a lesser extent, the forecourt of Bellvista Market Place.
From the police perspective, this is not an unusual concern and is one currently shared by many Sunshine Coast Communities.
As previously stated in our newsletter and on the BeCA website, police believe the key to keeping incidents under control is that concerns be reported to them via Crime Stoppers (131444) or Policelink (1300 333000).
There is now a Policelink mobile phone app available for you to download and use as well to report incidents.
Police require that whoever lodges the report be courageous and include as much detail as possible. Information such as the person’s build, hair, height, clothing is required by police to help identify a perpetrator. Police also require your name and details so they can get back in contact with you for more information or any mobile phone photo or video footage you may have. Even audio recorded while filming on your phone can assist police in laying and prosecuting a charge.
Any recording should be done as secretly as possible. It could be taken from your car as you drive by, or casually over your shoulder as you walk away.
These times of Covid19 have placed an inordinate strain on police resources with officers being re deployed to cover Covid19 points of entry into the state and other pandemic related duties. Where at one time there were numerous officers available to respond to an incident, nowadays because of the pandemic, resources have been decreased.
There will be times when police are required to prioritize as to which incident they will attend. This means a personal attack on a person could be prioritized over a rowdy group of youths.
The question of Closed-Circuit TV surveillance was raised. Previously where there have been behaviour concerns, Council had deployed their mobile CCTV unit. Figures from before and during Council’s CCTV surveillance indicated little if any change in the number of incidents of vandalism and other concerns.
Police have visited Canavan Gracie after dark when a group of up to 50 youths have been in and around the area. As soon as the police vehicles arrived on the scene, the crowd dispersed in all directions. On another occasion police blocked several exits but in the mayhem that followed only handful of youths were detained.
In this day and age, police require rock solid evidence of who the perpetrator was and what the criminal charge should be.
So detailed reports including specific photographic, video or audio evidence from concerned residents is required from a courageous community who is prepared to stand up, gather evidence and report incidents to police. Residents also need to leave their contact details so police follow up where necessary.
Council will consider CCTV coverage and will seek to deploy youth counsellors to engage teenager groups where possible.
And the Bellvista, Bells Reach and Arbour communities will need to be courageous enough to report incidents to police via Crime Stoppers (131444) or Policelink (1300 333000) with detailed information and/or with photo, video and audio backup evidence.