Belfast Telegraph

PSNI besieged by drunk rampaging youths during night of disturbances across Northern Ireland

  • Medics help drunk girl (13), teen hurt
  • PSNI helicopter called out
  • Cop car pelted with stones
  • Officers ferry youths home

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland police were - once again - besieged by rampaging youths on Saturday night across the country.

In just one incident the police helicopter was called, paramedics dealt with a drunk 13-year-old girl, a fire was started and police attacked.

Police dealt with trouble across Northern Ireland on Saturday night including at incidents in Craigavon, Dunmurry and Belfast.

A large group of around 30 youths gathered in north Belfast's Waterworks, just yards from the Antrim Road police station at around 8pm. A fire was started near the play park, a teenage boy was injured and paramedics were called to help a "highly intoxicated" 13-year-old girl.

Stones were thrown at a police car and the PSNI's air support dispatched to provide support.

“We take all instances of anti-social or nuisance behaviour very seriously as we understand the impact these issues can have on communities," Sergeant Greg Dawson said.

“Young people are being put at risk by becoming involved in the kind of activity we saw last night. While they have every right to enjoy each other’s company, I would just like to remind them that what might initially seem like fooling about can sometimes get out of hand and end up in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future. It is really important that young people understand this."

Youths risking their lives by running in front of traffic. SDLP councillor

 

In Dunmurry police dealt with several crowds of young people, many of them drunk.  Officers had to take many of them home to their parents. A local councillor said 100 youths were involved.

And in Craigavon police were again attacked while on patrol in the Portadown Road area resulting in their car being damaged. They also found drunk 14 year olds "shivering cold and soaking wet from sitting in muddy fields" among a crowds of youths drinking in the area.

Police appealed to parents to know what their children are up to or face a call from custody or A&E.

"If you can't say with a degree of confidence that your child isn't involved, it's time to step up," they said.

SDLP Belfast Councillor Brian Heading said parents and the community should work to put an end to the behaviour.

He said: "A minority are drinking and some are running out in front of cars onto the road.

“This is not only disturbing residents nearby, many have told me they feel intimidated.

“More importantly, the actions of some of the young people are very dangerous. Walking out in front of cars is not only obstructive to traffic, but these young people are taking their lives into their hands. It is frightening.

“I support the police appeal to parents to check on their young people but more so, I would urge parents to speak to their young people about why they are engaging in this dangerous activity.

"However, this demands more than a police response. As a community we have a responsibility to reach out to these young people and deal with the wider problem. I will be seeking a meeting with the Youth Service as soon as possible.

"We need to work together to develop a strategy to deal with this issue.”

Sergeant Greg Dawson added: "I would also ask parents and guardians to make sure they know where their young people 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 offences.

“We will continue to monitor reports of anti-social behaviour and respond appropriately.

"If anyone is concerned about any sort of criminal activity, please contact police at the earliest opportunity in a bid to help prevent and detect crime. Anyone with any information or with general concerns regarding anti-social behaviour should contact police on 101.”

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