Police asked to increase patrols after Killyleagh trouble

Police asked to increase patrols after Killyleagh trouble

9 June 2021

POLICE have been urged to step up patrols in Killyleagh following another weekend of trouble in the town.

Last Saturday, a wheelie bin was pushed against a set of new traffic lights which had only been installed 24 hours earlier in Catherine Street and set on fire.

The upsurge in anti-social behaviour has been condemned by local politicians and residents who have called for police to not only increase their presence in the town at weekends, but do more to root out the troublemakers.

The appeal comes amid increasing concern about the behaviour of teenagers — many of whom are drinking alcohol — in the Cross Street, High Street and Catherine Street areas.

Cllr Billy Walker, who lives in Killyleagh, said the trouble was particularly bad over the weekend with unruly teenagers running amok.

“Police were called two weekends ago by some residents when trouble flared and it is my understanding that officers did not respond,” claimed Cllr Walker. “It is an issue which I intended to raise with senior officers and impress upon them the need to address this issue.

“Once again Killyleagh is in the headlines for the wrong reasons and words cannot describe the mentality of those who targeted new traffic lights, which were only installed last Friday. What on earth makes them tick?

“We cannot allow teenagers to freely run about the streets of Killyleagh smashing and wrecking. There must be a police presence to deter such behaviour.”

Cllr Walker said if those responsible for the trouble, particularly those who targeted the new traffic lights can be identified “they must feel the full force of the law with the courts sending out a clear message that such behaviour is not acceptable”.

He declared: “What has happened in Killyleagh over recent weekends is nothing short of disgraceful and it must stop. There needs to be a greater police presence on the ground.

“We have seen the closures of police stations across the Rowallane area over recent years and I believe that police numbers locally have reduced. While I understand that officers cannot be everywhere, Killyleagh should be well up the list of areas which require weekend patrols.”

Cllr Walker said if there is a weekend band parade in Killyleagh, there can be up to 30 police officers on the ground.

“He added: “Why does it takes 30 officers to police a band parade, but when drunken teenagers are running amok in Killyleagh it is hard to get just one into the town to respond to residents’ concerns? I will be demanding answers to this question.

“This anti-social behaviour must stop now and while only a small number of youths are involved they cannot and must not be allowed to hold the town to ransom. 

“I know that the vast majority of young people in the Killyleagh area are all law-abiding citizens who respect other people and property. Sadly, we have a number who are not like that.”

The trouble has also been condemned by Cllr Terry Andrews who said “many will be appalled at what happened”. He also and appealed to those involved to stop causing mayhem.

“There is simply no excuse for this kind of behaviour,” declared Cllr Andrews. “I condemn without reservation what happened and would appeal to anyone who knows the identify of the troublemakers to hand that information over to police.

“This trouble must stop. There is no place for it in Killyleagh or anywhere else in the Newry, Mourne and Down area. The fact that a new puffin crossing was targeted by people who should know better is nothing short of despicable.”

PSNI Inspector Darren Hardy confirmed that members of the force’s local neighbourhood team have received a number of reports of anti-social behaviour incidents in the Killyleagh area in recent weeks.

“Police patrols and neighbourhood officers will monitor the area and I will continue to liaise with 

local elected representatives about the issue along with our partners in the council and Policing and Community Safety Partnership,” he confirmed.

“I understand the intimidating effect anti-social behaviour can have on local communities and that it causes disruption and distress to residents and visitors alike.

“I would ask the local community to work with police to address the problem by reporting concerns via 101 or using the online form www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.

Information can also be provided anonymously using the confidential Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.