Northern Ireland

Falls Park anti-social behaviour on rise, say police

Fence Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption This fence was recently vandalised in Falls Park

Police in west Belfast have said they are aware of increasing anti-social behaviour in Falls Park.

A number of incidents were reported to them this week.

A post on the PSNI West Belfast Facebook page said the park had to be closed early on Wednesday after a crowd of 150 young people gathered there.

The PSNI said stones were thrown at passing cars and pedestrians. Officers also spent Thursday and Friday dealing with underage drinking in the park.

Image caption SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said anti-social behaviour is an ongoing problem

"It is disappointing to see, what appears to be, mainly younger people getting involved in anti-social behaviour and causing damage to a local facility designed for everyone to enjoy," said Insp Roy Burnside.

"Not only is this costly to both council and local businesses, it also impacts on the reputation of the area."

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said anti-social behaviour is an ongoing problem.

Image caption Police have said they will monitor any further reports of anti-social behaviour and focus patrols in certain areas

"Obviously during holiday periods there are a number of hotspots in Belfast and sometimes people gather in the park, so at times the activities of young people mean police and community safety wardens have to act to try and protect people's health and safety," he said.

"It is unfortunate, as this park is a beautiful oasis for people in west Belfast to play and to do leisure activities.

"It's an active park which is popular with local people but sometimes young people gather and take part in anti-social behaviour and we have a strategy to try and tackle that and on Wednesday night we had to work with the police to deal with that situation.

"There are young kids who are involved in some of the activities at night time and there's a responsibility on parents to ensure their kids are safe."

Police have said they will monitor any further reports of anti-social behaviour and focus patrols in certain areas.

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