Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has appealed to parents in a bid to quell the rise of anti-social behaviour in Newry city, as well as Downpatrick, Newcastle.
For this reason, the Council is appealing to families to talk to each other about the risks of in getting involved in anti-social behaviour and communicate the effects this type of behaviour can have on them and on communities.
The District Electoral Area (DEA) Fora and Newry, Mourne and Down Policing and Communities Safety Partnership (PCSP) have continued to work together with key statutory partners at the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Education Authority (EA), EA Youth Service as well as with key community/voluntary stakeholders to
address these issues locally throughout the year including during lockdown periods within the confines of the restrictions.
In the future when it is safe to do so these services which support young people face to face will be reactivated.
Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP Chairperson, Councillor John Trainor said: “Collectively our Statutory, Community and Voluntary sector objective is to keep the young people across the district safe and whilst having a positive and thriving experiences and achieving their personal goals.
“We are committed to working together to reduce risks to our young people and providing them with support they need to make good decisions. We would ask all parents and guardians to be aware at all times where their children are, encourage them to think carefully about the impacts their decision and actions have, which has the potential to put them at risk of harm or criminality.
“We would ask all our young people to stay safe, be careful and think about yourselves and others.”
Councillor Trainor continued: “The term anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable activity that blights the lives of many people daily. This behaviour affects the most vulnerable in our community and can leave people feeling helpless and frightened in their own home.
“Anti-social behaviour is an issue that we take seriously and Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP are fully committed to working in partnership with all agencies and stakeholders to address it. We are here to listen to community concerns and work with others to find a solution to any problems they may have.
“In many cases, this needs positive input from everyone in the community if a long-lasting solution is to be found. Anyone who has concerns around anti-social behaviour or witnesses such behaviour contact the PSNI by dialling telephone number 101.”
PSNI Newry City Neighbourhood Policing Team added: “We have been working closely with local councillors, local statutory and voluntary agencies to address increased concerns around antisocial behaviour. We have also increased our patrols across the district to prevent and detect this type of activity.
“We always try to avoid criminalising young people but in some circumstances this has become unavoidable, due to the level of behaviour exhibited by a few individuals.
“It is really important that our young people understand what antisocial behaviour is, the effect it can have on others in the community and the potential consequences of a criminal record that can affect education, career and life options. I am appealing to parents and guardians to talk to your children about antisocial behaviour and the consequences and be aware of where your children are, who they are spending time with and what they are doing.
“It is also worth remembering that restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 remain in place and apply to everyone, including young people.”
The Area Learning Community, which is a community of schools who care deeply about the health and wellbeing of its pupils stated: “Willingness to care does not end when you leave through the school gates. We would encourage all young people not to place themselves in danger or in a situation that might lead to a criminal record.
“We would ask young people to respect the right of everyone to live in their homes, in peace and quiet and respect the property of others. To date we have worked so hard to stop the spread of infection. Please do not congregate in groups, it only puts this good work at risk. We are very keen to get our young people back to school, behaviour over the coming weeks will determine if this happens or not. We urge you to be safe and sensible.”
The Education Authority Youth Service also added: “We continue to provide opportunities for young people to engage remotely, through the Stay Connected service accessed via www.youthonline.org. Stay Connected allows young people to stay in touch with youth workers through online methods or by phone, to talk or highlight their support needs.
“Additionally, Youth Service members are engaging with youth workers online in group work activities, based on the youth work curriculum, with a significant focus on health and wellbeing. Bespoke interventions for face to face small group work and street based engagements are available where there is a significant identified need that can be facilitated locally, taking into account current Covid-19 restrictions.”