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Courts Must Get Tough On Car Thieves

Filed under Editorial

Constable Peter McAulay … critically injured (Photo: QPS)

October 2, 2018

by Anne Miller

Last Friday, police throughout Queensland paused for a short while to remember their fallen colleagues.

Police Remembrance Day is always a solemn occasion but it was made even more so this year with the knowledge a young police constable from Goodna Police Station lay in a Brisbane hospital, fighting for his life.

The good news on Monday is that Constable Peter McAulay, 24, has shown slight signs of improvement following surgery.

His family remains by his side.

Const McAulay was struck by an allegedly stolen vehicle as police attempted to lay stingers across the road.

Take a long, hard look at his official photo, (right).

He’s happy, keen and full of promise.

Realistically, his life now will never be the same …

There has been a pandemic of car thefts lately across Queensland and interstate.

Just in the past few days, a 15-year-old boy in a stolen car was killed in a Brisbane crash; a 15-year-old girl in a stolen car suffered critical injuries in a crash in Melbourne; and now Const McAulay has suffered critical injuries near Ipswich.

There are still two stolen cars missing in the South Burnett – one from Cherbourg, and one from Wondai.

[UPDATE: Now found]

And another stolen vehicle was found dumped and burned out near Nanango after a crash.

Earlier this year, there were so many stolen vehicles being hooned around the area that extra police were called in and a petition tabled in State Parliament.

Any of this year’s incidents in the South Burnett could have ended in a tragedy for either the young thieves, their passengers, the police or innocent bystanders.

For the safety of the public and emergency services – and the thieves themselves – we believe it’s time car theft was treated as a much more serious crime by Children’s Courts than it seems to be now.

The theft not only causes massive inconvenience and financial loss to the car owners, but there is also a real risk someone could die.

To ram this home, a term of detention should become mandatory for both the driver AND passengers in stolen vehicles.

The prospect of detention may be enough to stop some kids from hopping into a stolen car; and the lack of passengers to show off to may kill some of the thrills for the drivers.

A message to the parents of the young thieves … don’t protect them, don’t hide them, don’t lie for them. 

You will have done them no favours if they end up burned alive in a crash, paralysed in a wheelchair or doing a long stint in jail because they have killed someone.


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