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Multi-agency group’s proactive approach set to assist with underage drinking issues

12 May 2017

Multi-agency group’s proactive approach set to assist with underage drinking issues

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Multi-Agency group meeting, chaired by the Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, met today at Derry City and Strabane District Council Offices to discuss ongoing concerns and issues with anti-social behaviour caused by underage drinking across the City and District, in particular St Columb’s Park, where residents have been concerned following reports of large numbers of young people gathering and consuming alcohol during periods of good weather.

 

The meeting was called following a number of incidents of antisocial behaviour in a number of areas over the last few weeks in an effort to offer reassurance to the public with regard to safety in public areas and parks across the City and District.

 

The meeting, which was attended by representatives from a number of agencies including the PSNI, Council and CCI, agreed to take forward a number of actions in an effort to address the problem.

 

They included an increased proactive partnership approach to dealing with the issues raised including the early identification of incidents and early intervention, increased security and monitoring in problem areas, ongoing engagement with schools and the youth sector to raise awareness of the problem and proactive communication to encourage responsible behaviour in young people. It was also agreed that there was a need for increased and targeted enforcement to seize alcohol from under 18’s and more engagement with off licences to help address the issue.

 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock described the meeting as extremely informative and worthwhile. She said: “This is an issue of real concern to everyone and in particular to residents living close to St Columb’s Park. We all want our young people to enjoy themselves but we want them to be safe and to be informed. The issue of underage drinking in parks and open spaces is of significant concern to local residents and the wider public, who feel intimidated and afraid to go to places where young people are congregating. There is also concern about the number of alleged incidents where teenagers have been the victims of alleged alcohol related crimes and it’s everyone’s responsibility to be proactive in doing what we can to address the issue and find solutions to the problem.”

 

Encouraging the public to assist with the solution, the Mayor said it was important that residents and the public report issues and incidents where they notice young people gathering with alcohol, to the PSNI or the Community Safety Wardens so that action can be taken to prevent anti-social behaviour.

 

She added that parents and grandparents also have an important role to play in knowing where their child under 18 is, what they are doing and speak to them about responsible behaviour and personal safety.

 

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy and to be safe in our parks and open spaces. By working together we can help change attitudes and behaviours and get the entire community to get involved in helping us resolve this problem.”

 

 

The PSNI’s Derry City and Strabane District Commander Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: “The commitment to address the wider issues relating to anti-social behaviour is both positive and welcomed.  Policing ASB can be resource intensive, especially over the summer months, and while we recognise that we have a part to play around enforcement, there is a collective responsibility involving partners, parents and community leaders to tackle the underlying factors that lead to anti-social activity.”

 

Karen Phillips, Director of Environment and Regeneration with Derry City and Strabane District Council said drinking alcohol in parks and open spaces is not permitted and will not be tolerated and Council will continue to work closely with its partners, in particular PSNI, CCI and St Columb’s Park House in order to deal with these issues and to prevent recurrence. 

 

The contact numbers for the Community Safety Wardens are as follows – 07709457690 or 07736213140 and the non-emergency number for the PSNI is 101.

 

Ends

 

Further press information can be obtained by contacting Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Communications Section, Tel. 028 71 376 583 or email [email protected].