Police have been using discretionary methods to deal with minor criminal incidents and educate young people about the consequences of getting caught up in crime.
The PSNI has confirmed that Brownlow Neighbourhood Policing Team, in conjunction with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, were using this approach.
In April this year, five youths damaged an underpass in Enniskeen by writing their names in plaster that hadn’t dried out.
The youths were identified and spoken to and, with the permission of the local council, were dealt with by way of discretionary disposal.
Constable Skillen said: “We use discretionary disposals to deal with minor crimes, such as some incidents of criminal damage, minor assaults and theft. A disposal of this nature means a faster outcome for the victim of the crime and also helps us to spend more time out in communities by reducing the time spent completing paperwork for court.
“We only use discretionary disposals when the victim is in full agreement to their use and they cannot be used with persistent offenders.
“Discretion is not a criminal conviction, so the suspect will not be given a criminal record, however details will be held on police records, which will be consulted by officers in the event of a further offence.
“In this instance the five youths agreed to pay a fee of £50 and wrote letters of apology to the council.
“The young people have accepted responsibility for their actions and a disposal like this will not affect their future career or education prospects.
“Hopefully this experience will also act as a deterrent for the young people involved.”
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