A new CCTV system looks set to be installed at a county Armagh play park described as “too dangerous” to monitor by council staff.
Council look set to fork out more than £3,500 to install the equipment at Tandragee Play Park in a bid to deter gathering teenagers and anti-social behaviour.
In a report set to go before councillors this evening (Monday), it has been recommended that they agree to the proposals because of the continued issues which have cost thousands to repair.
In July 2015, in excess of £1,300 was paid to remain rude slogans, while more than £3,000 has been spent in the last two months alone.
The play park underwent a much needed £90,000 refurbishment in 2008, however, the report highlighted how it “has continued to be a meeting place for underage drinking on a Friday and Saturday night as well as during holiday periods for teenagers from Tandragee and the surrounding areas”.
It adds: “This in turn has led to an increase in associated anti-social behaviour issues [and] although staff do their best to monitor the outside areas it has become too dangerous due to the number of teenagers gathering.
“The PSNI are contacted regularly but due to lack of resources they are unable to respond when requested.”
The launch of the Tandragee Youth Club in 2011/2012 was a joint venture in which the Education Authority were working in conjunction with Tandragee Recreation Centre, PSNI and the Council’s Community Safety Officer to set up a youth community hub for the young people aged 13-18 years.
The initiative was created in an attempt to tackle the ongoing anti-social issues in Tandragee and surrounding rural areas, which included underage drinking and suspected drug taking.
Through the delivery of a structured programme of activities within the Recreation Centre, PSNI figures from the summer of 2013 showed that anti-social behaviour and crime was reduced dramatically within the Tandragee Area.
This programme has experienced a major dilution with the decision of PSNI to remove the local Neighbourhood Policing teams and the reduction of funding from the Education Authority to house a Youth Officer in Tandragee on a semi-permanent basis previously 20 hours per week.
Following the withdrawal of this service/interaction the problems regarding anti-social behaviour and criminal damage have increased over the last two years.
It is hoped that not only will the CCTV act as a deterrent, but will also be used for retrospective punishment.