Belfast Telegraph

Police tell Belfast parents to 'step up' as patrols increase to combat anti-social behaviour

A bin was set alight in north Belfast during trouble over the weekend.
A bin was set alight in north Belfast during trouble over the weekend.

Parents in Belfast have been been told to "step up" their efforts in combating their children's anti-social behaviour, following a spate of incidents across the city.

The effort is a joint initiative between the PSNI and Belfast City Council.

Police were attacked by youths throwing bricks and a paint bomb on Monday night after a crowd of around 20 children went on a rampage in the New Lodge area at around 9pm.

It followed disturbances at the weekend which saw police attacked and a 14-year-old boy left with a fractured skull after a sectarian beating as he made his way home.

Police have said they are increasing activity in the area and have warned children of the consequences of gaining a criminal record.

Superintendent Robert Murdie said police had attended numerous incidents in recent days.

“In recent days, police and our partners have responded to multiple calls from the public concerned about the behaviour of some young people in parks, and public places across the city," he said.

“In one incident, a young teenager was the victim of a serious assault. Police officers responding to calls have been attacked. One officer has been injured, a number of our vehicles have been damaged and there have been multiple incidents of vandalism and bins set on fire.

“The disgraceful and dangerous actions of a small minority of young people must stop. Police, together with our Belfast City Council colleagues, local representatives and youth workers are all working together to address this issue, but parents and guardians really need to step up."

Superintendent Murdie warned of the effect a criminal record could have on a young person's life.

“Young people have every right to enjoy each other’s company, but parents and guardians must ensure they know where their young people are and what they are doing. The behaviour of some young people, is having a significant impact on the community, and could result in a criminal record which will have a lasting impact on their future," he said.

“Police, Belfast City Council, local representatives, community and youth workers are all working closely together to have dedicated resources available into the Easter period. We are also visiting licensed premises across the city to ensure they are carrying out the necessary checks to prevent young people from purchasing alcohol.

Alderman Tommy Sandford, chair of Belfast City Council People and Communities Committee said council would work to tackle the issues raised in recent weeks.

“Tackling anti-social behaviour is not an easy task, and it’s not something that Belfast City Council can do in isolation," he said

"There is already a huge amount of very positive work happening in our communities but we need to keep up that momentum. We will continue to work with a range of partners to engage, support and inform local communities as to how they can report incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

Superintendent Murdie asked anyone concerned about anti-social behaviour to contact police.

 “We will continue to monitor reports of antisocial behaviour and respond appropriately. Local police along with support from our tactical Support Group colleagues will be focusing joint patrols at locations across Belfast in the coming days," he said.

“I would also appeal to anyone concerned about antisocial behaviour or any sort of criminal activity, please contact Police on the non-emergency number 101 and let us know so that we can respond appropriately. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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