POLICE have pledged to adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to anti-social behaviour at Brownstown Park.
PSNI officers attended a meeting last week which was organised by the Brownstown Owners and Residents Association and local political representatives.
The group’s spokesman Gordon Blevins confirmed that groups of as many as 10 young people had been using the park as a drinking den and police assured residents they would deal with the issue.
Mr Blevins said, “We had a meeting with the PSNI and they told us that they have stepped up their patrols at weekends.
“At times recently the problem has been bad enough, especially earlier in the summer. But it has alleviated a bit over the last month. Our main concern is that if we manage to get these people away from Brownstown Park they just don’t set up somewhere else.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson, who attended the meeting, said, “I am pleased that the PSNI have reiterated to us that they will have a zero tolerance approach to this kind of behaviour. I hope that people will show sense and act responsibility. But in the absence of that I hope that the PSNI will be able to take the necessary action to tackle this.”
Mr Simpson admitted he had been approached by residents concerned at the situation. He added, “Brownstown Park has along been a place where families could go and enjoy together. There are still many families who do so. However I have been approached in recent days by local residents who are concerned at the activities of some people engaged in anti-social behaviour in the area.
“Among the concerns raised with me have been the number of people who are using the park as somewhere to congregate to drink. This involves groups of upwards of ten people at a time.
“I know of one family whose child was so frightened at the behaviour and proximity of such a group that she was scared to walk past them.
“I am also aware of a situation where the police had to step in when a member of the public was accosted by one such individual.
“This type of activity shouldn’t be acceptable and families with young children shouldn’t have to run the gauntlet of this kind of thuggish behaviour.
“Along with party colleagues I have arranged a meeting with the PSNI to raise this and I pleased at the opportunity to have this early meeting with local PSNI officers in order to relay to them the very genuine concerns felt by local people.”
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