Northern Ireland

Youths attack police with missiles at west Belfast park

Play park in Falls Park area
Image caption The rubber floor of a play park was ripped up during the incident on Saturday night

The police have been attacked in west Belfast after they tried to break up a crowd of teenagers who had gathered at Falls Park.

Police said more than 200 young people gathered in the Falls Park and City Cemetery area on Saturday night.

They said a number of them threw stones and bottles at police.

The rubber floor of the nearby play park was ripped up and pieces of it used as missiles to throw at police. Two teenage boys were arrested.

Police said that on Friday night a similar number of young people were gathered in the same area and a teenage girl was arrested.

"We would ask parents to know where their children are and to play a role in preventing them from becoming involved in behaviour which could see them end up with a criminal record," the PSNI said in a statement.

"Damaging a play park which is used by the whole community is unacceptable and is the kind of anti-social behaviour that adversely affects the quality of life of those people who want to use it.

"Going forward, we will use all the opportunities available to us to address anti-social behaviour - and that means working closely with local residents and other agencies.

"This work includes enforcement, making arrests, and education - helping our young people understand the impact this type of activity can have on victims."

Image caption Pieces of the rubber floor were thrown at police

The police said the three teenagers who were arrested were "dealt with by way of community resolution notices or CRNs, meaning that they were required to acknowledge the unacceptable nature of their actions and apologise for them".

They added that a condition of the CRN imposed on one of the teenage boys, is that he is not permitted to enter Falls Park unless accompanied by an adult.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey told BBC News NI on Sunday that a co-ordinated approach was needed to tackle the issue.

"It is happening too often, it is damaging the park and it is costing public money," he added.

"More importantly, it is sickening people when they see the damage and hear of the bad activity going on.

"What we have to do is keep working with the young people, with the police and with the council management to make sure that we can keep the anti-social behaviour to a minimum, if not eradicate it."