Armed teen gangs gather in city centre

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Police had to move in last weekend to disperse gangs of youths, many of whom were armed with knives, after they began to congregate in the Lisburn Square area of the city centre.

The police were called following reports that a large number of youths, who were said to have been drinking, had gathered in the Lisburn Square area and were causing a disturbance at approximately 5pm on Saturday January 16.

The reports received by the police included mention of the youths drinking alcohol and also some possibly in possession of knives.

Due to these reports, and police attendance, a juvenile was arrested for common assault.

The police also dedicated additional patrols to this area of the city centre last weekend in an attempt to deter further anti-social behaviour.

A spokesperson for the police urged parents to be aware of where their children are at all times and to maintain open lines of communication.

“We are talking about juveniles, alcohol and possibly weapons, none of which is a good mix,” said the police.

“We would encourage parents to know where their child is, who she or he is with, where they are going, when they are coming home and always have a line of contact
with them. “Nobody wants to collect their child from a custody suite or to be sitting by their bedside in a hospital due to alcohol and/or an assault.”

The Chairman of the Lisburn Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), Councillor Scott Carson, said he was aware of the city centre incident last weekend.

“I am aware there were a number of youths who gathered around the Lisburn Square area on Saturday afternoon,” said Mr Carson.

“As a result of the intervention of the CCTV operators and the Police response, one youth was arrested for common assault.

“Reports stated these individuals were drinking alcohol and may also have been in possession of knives.

“I am very concerned that these young people were engaged in such activity in Lisburn City Centre where many children and families would have been present.

“The PSNI have assured me that they will take this matter very seriously and I, along with the Police, would appeal to parents to know the whereabouts of your young people, the company they are keeping and the activities they are engaged in.

“Something which may have started innocently turned into a much serious encounter leading to an assault on a person.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information relating to this to come forward to the Police.”

Anyone with information about crime in Lisburn, or who notices any suspicious or concerning activity can contact the police on the non-emergency number 101, or contact 999 if the crime is in progress.

Alternatively, information can be passed to the police anonymously via the indepedent Crimestoppers charity by c0ntacting 0800 555 111.