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Police move into Meadows area as scores of young people ignore warning

Police have been forced to act again to disperse youths gathering in Portadown.

Some 40 had to be moved along from around the Meadows Shopping Centre this evening (Saturday).

It is understood one arrest has been made.

The PSNI have dispersed crowds but reports from the area say young people are continuing to gather in smaller pockets.

Community representatives are trying to engage with them.

Local Ulster Unionist Councillor Julie Flaherty has been to the area and has repeated the advice given by police to parents to know where their children area.

She told Armagh I : “This is a time for well chosen words to young people and parents and cool calm heads.

“Neighbourhood officers are responding and bringing kids home to talk to the parents.”

There has been a peak in clashes and anti-social behaviour in recent times, which have escalated into brawls and pitched battles.

The PSNI first warned against these latest gatherings last week.

And yesterday (Friday), they confirmed that they would be adopting a ‘no more Mr Nice Guy approach’.

They said local people were living in fear and police resources were being wasted by having to step in and deal with the antics.

The police are promising increased patrols in trouble spots and again are warning young people of the consequences and reiterating to parents the need to know where their kids are.

After recent weeks of mayhem, public drinking and fights, the PSNI warned on Facebook: “This weekend there will be a zero tolerance approach. If you are caught engaging in violent or disorderly behaviour you will be arrested. If you are caught drinking in public your drink will be taken off you and you’ll be taken home. You’ll also be reported to the council for breaching the by laws. That could mean a hefty fine.

“Parents, do you know where your kids are? Any interview you child is required for, you will have to come along too. Not only that, but if you are incapable of controlling your little darlings, we’ll get social services involved to give you the help you need.

“The choice is simple. Kids- wind your necks in and behave. Parents- make sure they’re doing so. The consequences of not doing so could be arrest, interview, court, and social services intervention.”

 

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