Belfast police step up patrols to tackle Lenadoon and Suffolk pre-arranged fights
Police have stepped up patrols and warned parents to know what their children are up to after reports of pre-arranged fights over social media in the Lenadoon and Suffolk areas of west Belfast.
Police dealt with youths attacking each other in the area on Monday night close to their Woodbourne station.
They said two groups of up to 30 young people were involved.
Residents took to social media to voice their anger over the ongoing pre-arranged fights.
"Seriously this is not on, it's not just about messing about, it's about respect for people living here," said one commentator.
The Great Andersonstown Safer Neighbourhood Partnership said it was "beyond a joke" police had to be called despite the incident taking place on their doorstep.
Policing Chief Inspector for West Belfast Anthony McNally said: “We received two reports of two groups of up to 30 young people gathering and engaging in anti-social behaviour in the Lenadoon and Suffolk areas.
"Police officers attended within five minutes and dispersed the groups, liaised with community representatives and remained in the area.
“We will continue to monitor reports of antisocial behaviour and respond appropriately, including focusing patrols in specific areas over the coming days, but once again, I would urge parents and guardians to make sure they know where their children are, what they are doing, and to talk to them about the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offence."
He added: "I would also like to remind young people there are consequences when you get involved in this type of behaviour. What might seem like fooling about can often result in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future. It is really important that young people understand this.”
Chief Inspector McNally also called on local communities to report antisocial behaviour to their local police.
He said: “It is only with information from the local community that we can build an accurate picture of the issues and concerns in your neighbourhood and put an appropriate response in place.
“If you are aware of antisocial behaviour in your area please contact your neighbourhood policing team on the non-emergency number 101 and let us know so that we can respond and find ways to address problems.”