'Anti-social behaviour big issue'

ANTI-social behaviour has forced a Clifton family, who started a fishing competition to raise funds for cancer, to “rethink” the charity event.

Colleen and Glenn Kratzmann opened the gates of their Condamine River property to the public for the second Clifton Carp for Cancer competition at the weekend.

But while the two-day fishing event successfully raised more than $8000 for prostate cancer research, the “disrespectful” behaviour of a small group has left the couple “upset and angry”.

“We were forced to call the police out because of the poor behaviour of just a few people,” Mrs Kratzmann said.

“It was upsetting in the sense this is a family event organised to raise funds for charity.

“We don't want to have to go to the added expense of hiring security guards to ensure people's safety.

“It made us question whether we are prepared to risk someone getting injured while they are on our property.”

What compounds the issue is the fact the fishing competition was the brainchild of their son Jacob.

Last year the 10-year-old announced he wanted to combine his love of fishing with his mission to raise community awareness and funds for cancer research – the result was the inaugural Clifton Carp for Cancer.

While Mrs Kratzmann said her family was yet to make a decision on the future, the anti-social behaviour was not something they had factored when planning and assessing the event.

“We were naive – we thought people would respect the fact they were guests on private property and to be honest most did,” she said.

“It is just the three per cent hooligan factor ruining it for everyone else.”

The incident comes in the wake of last week's national police crackdown, Operation Unite Bravo, targeting alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.

In Queensland more than 290 people were arrested during the two-day operation in a move Chief Superintendent Katarina Carroll said showed police were serious and violence, drink driving and other life-endangering behaviour would not be tolerated.

At a local level Clifton Police Sergeant Guy Smidt said he had witnessed first-hand a sharp increase in anti-social behaviour during the past five years.

“I've been in the force 20 years. I did a decade on the Gold Coast so I have seen my share of anti-social behaviour fuelled by alcohol,” Sgt Smidt said.

“This sort of behaviour has definitely increased in the past few years, even in Clifton.

“When I started here eight years ago I used to get called out to disturbances at things like private parties a few times a year, now it's a regular problem.”

But as the officer who attended the call out to the Kratzmann family's fishing competition he had only praise for the way the event had been organised and overseen.

“There were some problems with young people drinking and drink driving,” Sgt Smidt said.

“We didn't charge anyone, but we did talk to some groups about their behaviour.”

Long-time Warwick security guard Bill McVeigh sums it up more succinctly: “There is an increasing number of young people with no respect for people, places or property.”

As a junior rugby league coach, a father and a local bouncer Mr McVeigh has been on the frontline of youth development for decades.

In that time what he has noticed is a marked shift in youth attitudes.

“Ten years ago when young people finished having a drink they carried the empty glasses back to the bar; today they are more likely to smash them on the floor,” Mr McVeigh said.

“These kids have absolutely no respect for authority; they know as security guards people like me can't touch them so they have free rein to misbehave.”

He blames higher alcohol-content drinks, drugs and society's general reluctance to crackdown on bad behaviour.

“I think it is just going to get worse, unless we as parents and a community adopt a zero-tolerance policy,” Mr McVeigh said.

“And we need real consequences for anti-social actions.”


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