Belfast Telegraph

Weekend of trouble in Belfast sparks crackdown on youth violence

By Claire Williamson

The PSNI has joined forces with Belfast City Council in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour across Belfast.

It comes in the wake of a number of violent incidents across the city.

On Saturday night, a north Belfast teenager was viciously attacked by a gang armed with bats and hammers.

Earlier in the week, police were attacked by youths throwing bricks and a paint bomb after a crowd of around 20 children went on a rampage in the New Lodge.

There have also been scenes of violence in Poleglass and the Waterworks in north Belfast.

The PSNI said officers and partner agencies have responded to multiple calls from the public concerned about the behaviour of some young people in parks and public places.

Superintendent Robert Murdie 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.

"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."

Superintendent Murdie warned that the behaviour could have a lasting impact on their future.

He added: "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."

NI Railways will also be increasing security on its trains and carrying out spot checks at railway stations with police.

Hilton Parr, Head of Rail Customer Services said: "We view anti-social behaviour as completely unacceptable.

"We will be working closely with the PSNI to clamp down on anti-social behaviour at our stations and halts and on board our trains up to and over Easter.

Mr Parr added: "As the evenings get brighter, we would also remind people they can face prosecution for gathering at stations and halts unless they are travelling on our trains and people should never cross the tracks."

Belfast Telegraph

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