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Police given special powers after fatal stabbing of teenager

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Solomone Taufeulungaki, 15, was stabbed to death as he walked home from school on Tuesday.

Victoria Police has been granted special powers to prevent further violence or reprisal attacks following the alleged stabbing death of Melbourne teenager Solomone Taufeulungaki.

The alleged fatal stabbing of the 15-year-old in Deer Park on Tuesday afternoon has prompted intervention from youth resource officers, the gang squad and other police units, with officers increasing patrols in the city's west over retaliation fears.

Victoria Police Commander Tim Hansen said the extra resources would be on the ground for some weeks until the chances of reprisal were minimised.

"These type of incidents do create fear in the eyes of the public and legitimately so, we recognise that," Cmdr Hansen said.

"If these kids or these street gangs want to come back into other western suburbs of Melbourne and get involved in a fight, we will be there ready, waiting for them."

Police have declared a designated area where the stabbing occurred, giving them the power to stop and search for weapons, following the activation of an operation for 24 hours yesterday after intelligence was received of a possible attack.

"[Solomone's parents] are not seeking an eye for an eye toward justice," Cmdr Hansen said.

"What they want everyone to do is to mourn the loss of their son and learn from them. They don't want to see this happen again."

Six teenage boys, aged between 13 and 16, have faced the Children's Court charged with violent disorder and affray following the alleged stabbing attack.

No one has yet been charged over his death.

Prosecutors did not oppose bail for three of the boys, aged 14, 15, and 16.

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Strict conditions were imposed, including a curfew, that they not associate with any of their co-accused or prosecution witnesses.

The three other boys are set to make applications for bail next week.

The youngest, aged just 13, will apply on Tuesday, while two aged 14 will apply on Wednesday.

When asked about the ages of the teenagers, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said he "wasn't surprised".

"For years we've had young offenders involved in significant and high impact high harm crimes, and that continues to be the case, this isn't a new occurrence," Mr Patton told reporters today.

Earlier, police said they were speaking with friends, families, schools and community leaders who are known to the young people involved, to "alleviate tensions and ensure they're aware of the behaviour and the risks involved with any further violence".

9News understands the year 10 student was attacked on his way home from school by a group who called themselves "The 97 Brotherhood" and allegedly made chilling threats online.

But Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said youth crime remained "a small proportion" compared with other crimes in Victoria.

"Fifteen years old is too young to die by that means," Ms Neville said.

"But it's very important to remember that youth crime is a very small proportion of crime in Victoria.

"In fact it continues to decline as a proportion of other offenders and offences in this state."

Offenders aged 10 to 17 made up just nine per cent of the overall figures, compared to 20 per cent for 18- to 24-year-olds, she said.

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"So, the vast majority of criminals offending in our state are those who 25 and over."

In most cases, people in the 10 to 17 age group were "harming each other".

"Often robberies against each other, mobile phones, stealing AirPods, clothing - shoes are a really big one," Ms Neville said.

"They are committing offences against each other and that's what we saw the other night."

Mr Patton said regardless of the numbers, the figures represented "victims of crime".

"We realise these aren't just figures and statistics, these are people," he said.

"These are victims of crime. These are people who've been victims of serious crimes on some occasions and whose lives are sometimes totally changed.

"That is the reason why we come to work, that is the reason why I do what I do – why all of the police officers and everyone at Victoria Police does what they do to detect crime, to prevent crime and to keep the community safer."

- With AAP reporting

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/deer-park-stabbing-youth-crime-constant-challenge-say-victoria-police-but-figures-remain-low/e56ec566-170a-4b5b-a237-18f46b489676

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