Police have warned that the cost of accompanying individuals arrested due to anti-social incidents while they attend hospital is getting to the stage where it is no longer sustainable.
On Saturday evening, a total of 19 police officers from Dungannon and Magherafelt were taken away from other duties to attend at Craigavon Area Hospital and Antrim Area Hospital.
Police warned of how the situation was proving costly in other policing areas and leaving less officers on the ground to deal with other incidents where needed.
And they warned that something needs to change.
PSNI in Dungannon and South Tyrone took to social media to express anger and frustration, saying 19 officers had been taken many miles away from the district, officers “removed from policing your area, 19 officers unable to respond to calls and carrying out anti-burglary patrols”.
Police were forced to attend to accompany those arrested for drink driving, domestic abuse, assaults and road traffic collisions due to drink or drugs.
They posted: “The A&E department itself was like an Eastenders Christmas Special meets Jeremy Kyle, with additional local police required to deal with that side of things.
“It’s part of a wider debate about police resources and police being a general catch all service expected to plug endless gaps.
“As is so often the case most of these boil down to individuals and personal responsibility – or rather a severe lack of it, with the expectation that police will just pick up the pieces.
“The mindset needs to change, it is not sustainable.”