'Appalling': Youths ram police cars in stolen vehicles in Townsville
An officer has been taken to hospital after young criminals turned on police, ramming two patrol cars with stolen vehicles.
The officers were forced to retreat to Mundingburra Police Station before the offenders set fire to one of the stolen cars in Townsville.
Detective Inspector Jason Shepherd said it was too dangerous for police to continue after the drivers of three stolen vehicles repeatedly and deliberately rammed the two police cars.
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"Obviously, normally we would try to find stolen vehicles," Shepherd said.
"The reason that we had to tactically withdraw is obviously the police vehicles have become the target.
"If we had kept driving around town it could have escalated, it becomes more dangerous."
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Townsville resident Carly James came face to face with the thieves outside her home, where they did burnouts before setting fire to one of the stolen cars.
"My friend was dropping me off home and we saw two lights spinning in circles, James said.
"I told her to get back in the car and just looked at them and they were just looking at us."
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She believes all were juveniles aged 12 to 15.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was in the city to talk about energy and jobs but instead was once again answering questions about youth crime.
She said the government's controversial new laws are to stop young criminals like this.
"There will always be incidents relating to crime across the state, across Australia, and across the world. That is not uncommon," she said.
"But we are doing everything we can to curb the number of incidents."
Opposition police spokesman Dale Last called it "absolutely appalling".
"Really is a low point in this community," Last said.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll called what happened "absolutely disgraceful".
"We will get to the bottom of this," Carroll said.