POLICE IN NORTHERN IRELAND have expressed concern over the number of pre-arranged fights involving large numbers of young people.
The PSNI have attended a number of incidents in the Brougham Street and Waterworks areas of North Belfast over the last number of weekends where youths were found to be in possession of knives and hammers.
(The Brougham Street and Waterworks areas of North Belfast – via Google maps)
Sergeant Brian Caskey of the York Road Neighbourhood Policing Team said that choosing to carry weapons such as these can “have disastrous results not only for the victim but for the offender who will have to deal with the burden of a criminal conviction throughout the rest of their lives.”
Local community representatives have been working in the affected areas in an attempt to prevent any further occurrences.
Gerry O’Reilly from the Community Bridges Project in North Belfast said that the fights were being organised using social media, with people invited to “attend and spectate”.
Harry Smith – also of the Community Bridges Project – urged parents to take greater responsibly in terms of knowing where their children are and what they use social networking sites for:
There are fears that should this behaviour continue that a young person may loose their life. This would have a devastating impact on communities.
Any member of the public who feels they can assist the PSNI can contact York Road Police Station on 0044 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0044 0800 555 111.