MP on edge over knife figures

ILLEGAL weapons are a problem on the streets, in playgrounds and in high schools in the Bundaberg-Burnett area, Member for Burnett Rob Messenger says.

Mr Messenger said yesterday he had consulted with parents and lawyers in a bid to find out exactly how great a danger illegal weapons posed.

He said he was stunned to hear from a legal professional that “If you were unlucky enough to get into a blue with a person aged between 13 to 25 in Burnett and Bundaberg there would be an 80% chance they would be carrying a knife”.

“In a meeting earlier this year, on January 14, I raised this issue with local Police Superintendent Ann McDonald,” Mr Messenger said.

“It’s important for Burnett families to know that the right message is being sent to youths who are illegally carrying knives.

“It’s an area where we must adopt zero tolerance.”

In a Question on Notice in state parliament yesterday, Mr Messenger tried to get an accurate picture of the situation.

In the question to police minister Neil Roberts, the MP referred to a Sunday newspaper report that London police searched 438,000 youths, finding almost 8400 knifes and leading to 16,000 arrests.

“Reported separately and for the last five years, specifically in the Burnett/Bundaberg region and total figures state-wide, how many youths in the past year have Queensland Police searched, how many knives did they find and how many arrests did they make?” he asked.

A police spokesman said the figures would take some days to gather.

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