Belfast Telegraph

Call to monitor interface trouble

A local MLA has called for any interface incidents to be tackled early, before the summer months.

Robin Newton — who has also praised local community youth work — was speaking following a reported increase in sectarian incidents at the interface between Short Strand and the Ravenhill and Woodstock Roads.

“Youth and community workers have raised concerns regarding damage to homes and businesses on the Ravenhill Road,” he said.

But a PSNI spokesperson said that officers are “committed to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the area”, and that they have been “working with residents in the local community to address issues in interface areas”.

Mr Newton also believes finding solutions to on-going problems is “vitally important” before schools finish for the summer and the nights get brighter.

He added: “As we approach the lighter nights and school holidays there is the potential for the number of incidents to increase, with likely tit-for-tat attacks to emerge.

“I want to pay tribute to the youth and community workers, from both sides of the community, who have condemned these attacks and for the very positive cross community work they are doing.

“Community workers dealing with this type of difficult interface trouble need support from the whole community, including the PSNI.”

Joe O’Donnell, director of the Short Strand Partnership, said that while there have been “sporadic incidents” recently, over all the problem was improving.

He said: “There are still small groups from both sides of the community who are causing inconvenience for those living near the interfaces.

“Disaffected young people see this as nightly entertainment.”

And Mr O’Donnell also praised the youth work going on in local communities.

He said: “Across east Belfast a lot of community youth workers are attempting to do what they do best — engaging with young people.”

A PSNI spokesperson added: “Crime is never acceptable. Police would remind parents that it is important for them to know where their children are and what they are doing.

“They should ensure their children fully appreciate the impact of their actions and the fact that such activity could constitute a crime, for which they could be arrested and placed before the courts.”

Belfast Telegraph

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