PSNI clampdown on east Belfast anti-social behaviour after teens arrested and paint bombs thrown
Police in east Belfast are clamping down on antisocial behaviour after a 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were detained for possession of an offensive weapon.
Officers are asking parents to make sure they know where their children after a number of reports of incidents of antisocial behaviour involving youths over the past few days at interface areas of east Belfast.
The PSNI said patrols would be stepped up at sectarian interfaces in a bid to curb trouble between rival gangs of teenagers.
On Sunday night there were two paint bombs thrown at police vehicles in the area and youths have been congregating at interface areas.
Local policing Chief Inspector for East Belfast David Moore said: "I have concerns social media, either purposely or not, bring young people to the interface areas. Some of those involved are not local and indeed a significant number are teenage girls.
"They must appreciate that people live in interface areas and gathering there for no good reason simply disrupts and affects those who do. It is very obvious that many of these young people know one another with whom they take issue with.
"On Sunday night there were two paint bombs thrown at police vehicles in the area. Over the period of last week we arrested a 16 year old female for assault and a 15 year old male was detained for possession of an offensive weapon.
"As part of the ongoing policing operation we have taken details of the young people and we will be speaking with their parents in the coming days."
Chief Inspector Moore warned young people of the consequences of their behaviour.
He added: “I would urge parents to make sure they know where their children are and 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.
“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 Moore also called on local communities to report antisocial behaviour to their local police.
He added: “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.
"By working together, we can make a difference."
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson appealed for cool heads following a number of incidents at the interface between the Short Strand and Newtownards Road.
He said: "Unfortunately there have been a number of incidents at the Short Strand interface over the last few nights. I would appeal for cool heads on all sides and for the work to continue building relationships across this interface so that problems such as this do not escalate."
Robin Newton MLA added: "There can be no excuse for any act of violence and it is vital that does not continue. Those who suffer the most as a result of any violence are the residents, on both sides of the interface, who bear the brunt of attacks from either side."