A police officer has been seriously assaulted while responding to anti-social behaviour in Portadown this evening (Saturday).
Officers were responding to growing concerns around a group of teenagers wreaking havoc in the Meadows Lane area of the town in recent weeks.
There have been reports of abuse levelled at staff in the Meadows Shopping Centre, Tim Horton’s and McDonalds. There have been also reports of assaults of staff and security.
Police said they have been proactively upping patrols in the area and have done so again this weekend “in response to community concerns”.
However, there appears to have been an escalation of trouble with one officers suffering serious injury.
A spokesperson for the Local and Neighbourhood Policing Teams said three people – two males and a female – have been arrested.
They added: “One officer has received a serious injury as a result of an assault which requires medical attention.”
Ulster Unionist councillor, Julie Flaherty commented: “Have to be honest, after speaking tonight with the local inspector I’m glad there has been three arrests – two young lads and a young girl.
“Unfortunately one of our local officers is in hospital getting some medical attention & I’ve sent him best wishes – he should not be facing injury dealing with ASB in our town.
“I know groups in town are working hard with our young people and we owe them huge thanks.
“I am not a parent, but I appeal to those who have teenagers….know where they are. Some of these offenses are really serious & could impact on their futures.”
DUP councillor Kyle Moutray said: “Unfortunately Anti-Social Behaviour in Portadown and in the Meadow Lane area is not new.
“Appallingly, this incident has resulted in the injury of a police officer who was on-duty, protecting the public.
“It is my hope and prayer that they make a speedy recovery. Additionally, I would urge the Police to now take a tougher line with those creating havoc for the public and for businesses in the town by engaging anti-social behaviour and criminality.
“I am sick of large areas of our town being vandalised and graffitied with little or no consequence for those responsible time and time again. It is my plea to parents leaving their children at Meadow Lane and the surrounding area to think twice before doing so.
“This issue highlights the need for resources for community and youth groups in the town and it is nothing short of reckless that the Education Authority have slashed the budgets for St Mary’s, Seagoe Youth Group and YMCA Portadown. This budget cut will result in a loss of services available for young people, and they must row back and reinstate the resources without delay”.
In conclusion, the DUP Councillor added: “I will be seeking a meeting with the PSNI and the Education Authority as a matter or urgency, I also ask that anyone with information to please provide it to the PSNI via 101.”