‘Zero tolerance’ warning over anti-social behaviour

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Police in Carrickfergus have stepped up patrols in Whitehead following a spike in reported incidents of anti-social behaviour.

The move follows an increase in complaints concerning a number of incidents at the end of February with one resident claiming that both commercial and residential properties were targeted.

The individual also reported having witnessed young people throwing bottles from the Kings Road bridge onto the railway track and the Park’n Ride facility.

A statement from the PSNI confirmed that the neighbourhood policing team had taken steps to address the problem with an increased presence in the seaside village. A zero tolerance policy is also being adopted against antisocial and criminal behaviour.

“Following an increase in the number of incidents reported to police recently, officers responded immediately by increasing patrols in the area and speaking with local agencies to establish the extent of the problem and those involved,” the statement added.

Constable Michael Johnston from Whitehead Neighbourhood Policing Team added: “We are doing our utmost to address antisocial behaviour in the Whitehead area and over the next number of weeks will be enforcing a zero- tolerance policy to antisocial and criminal behaviour.

“Over the next few weeks we will be focusing patrols on this area and anyone found to be breaking the law will be arrested.

“We work with young people in the area and make them aware of the consequences of becoming involved in this type of activity.

“What might seem like fooling about can often result in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future.”

Constable Johnston also urged parents to raise the issue with their children.

“Young people need to be aware of this fact and it is important that parents speak to their children and make them aware of the danger of getting caught up in a moment,” he said.

“We understand the frustration of local residents and are also asking for their help and support.

“It is only with information from the local community that we can build an accurate picture of the issues and concerns in your neighbourhood.

“If you are aware of antisocial behaviour in your area please contact us on 0845 600 08000 and let us know so that we can respond and find ways to address the problems.”

Meanwhile, tackling anti-social behaviour was identified as a key issue for Carrickfergus Policing and Community Safety Partnership, which will hold its next public meeting in Whitehead.

“As a result of local consultation, we have identified a number of priorities for the PCSP for the next year, to include anti-social behaviour, drug/alcohol related crime, burglary, fear of crime and violent crime,” said PCSP chair Andrew Wilson.