Unfortunately, the effort is missing the most most important component to a "whole of government" approach - THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT. You don't see any judges standing with this group of penguins, do you?
Not only are judges not interested in participating, they're getting increasingly agitated at the Newman government's attempt to "strong-arm" the judiciary, a pogrom being led by Attorney General Jerrod Bleijie.
Since taking power, Bleijie and Joh Bjelke Newman have taken various measures to project a "get tough" aura on crime, while accomplishing relatively little. Bleijie in particular has continued to make a raft of bad decisions - the Cairns "boot camp" Kuranda location and inexperienced operator have left Cairns struggling to deal with youth offenders. Bleijie has been slow to appoint new judges, in part because of his threats to interfere with judicial independence. This has led to a blowout in judicial costs to deal with a growing backlog. And while the Chief Justice Patsy Wolfe has stated in the annual judicial report that more funding is necessary to deal with the growing population and backlog, the Newman government has refused to even consider it.
When Bleijie was in opposition and shadow AG, he complained bitterly about the Bligh government's "dragging its feet" at appointing new judges. And yet he now is responsible for MORE judge vacancies than ever under the ALP government, and a growing case backlog at record heights.
And more troubling is the number of criminal cases on backlog, with a larger and larger group over 24 months since the first arrest. This is doubly unfair - for the arrested, they either sit locked up in remand waiting or on bail with a cloud over their head. And for the victims, "justice delayed is justice denied". The Newman government efforts make for more victims without their day in court. And the longer the case takes to get a trial, the more risk the prosecutors face with lost evidence, witnesses, and other defects. Bleijie and Newman however refuse to address the judiciaries well-reasoned requests for more money to do their job.
More puzzling are the statistics for youth crime contained in the Childrens Court of Queensland Annual Report 2011-2012. This report shows a 15.2% decrease in the number of juveniles coming before the Childrens Court, and a 20% decrease in the number sent to Magistrates Court. And a 9.7% decrease in the number of charges laid by the police - so it isn't a case of more crime being committed by a smaller number of youths.
So where is this "youth crime crisis" being flogged day after day by John MacKenzie, and waved as a political banner by Gavin King and Michael "Hide the Backhoe" Trout. (No word in these reports on any crime spike in Yorkey's Knob as a result of the Trout family business relocation). Some Cairns police have suggested (off-the-record) that less criminal arrests are being made due to the frustration of the police to see any rational punishments meted out. If this is the case, the system if far more broken than anyone's willing to admit.
And then there's the question of why a "tough on crime" LNP government has gladly opened the Bligh-funded expansion of Lotus Glen Prison, but refused to staff the new section leaving unused space for hundreds.
Gavin King's "Safer Streets Taskforce" is a carrot that cannot be successful without a stick. And with LNP efforts at crime fighting looking to be "smoke and mirrors" with no real efforts to respond to the community, King's been left holding a sack of shit come re-election time.