POLICE say residents have raised concerns in the New Lodge around an increase anti-social behaviour which has been associated with some young people who are gathering wood for bonfire sites in the vicinity.
The PSNI’s Local neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) at York Road said it has made tackling this type of behaviour a key priority.
Criminal behaviour such as damage to property, lighting of fires, graffiti and threats to residents have been reported to Police.
Senior officers say they have instigated an initiative aimed at increasing engagement with young people to raise their awareness of the impact their behaviour has on communities and to encourage participation in a number of divisionary activates, offered by youth centres in the local area
Speaking of the initiative, Sergeant Brian Caskey, York Road Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), said:
“Local NPT officers are working extremely hard to deal with this situation which involves a number of known young people in the area.
“We will continue to enforce the law against those who are intent on carrying out criminal behaviour and also to work in partnership with the local community and other agencies such as the Youth Justice Agency, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Belfast City Council to reduce this type of behaviour among some local young people.
“Where a young person has been identified as engaging in anti-social behaviour, police and other partners will work through the issue with the young person and their parents or guardians to reduce any future re-offending and also to support the parents or guardians in planning a suitable way forward.
“Interaction between Police, other partnership agencies, the local community and young people who live there, will continue over a long period of time to ensure that by working together, we can reduce crime in the area and make it a safer and better place to live.
“However, we cannot do this alone and need the help of the local people. I appeal to the New Lodge community to continue to support us and would ask that if anyone thinks they have any information which might be of assistance to us to call the 101 number and ask to speak to local police.”