NI: PSNI: We can’t have groups of youths fighting in the streets
Police in Belfast have called on “the support of the community” to put a stop to pre-arranged fights between young people.
Local policing chief inspector Robert Murdie urged young people not to take part in group fights after around 200 people gathered in Belfast city centre for a large fight organised over social media.
The incident led to two 14-year old girls being arrested for disorderly behaviour. They will be reported to the youth diversion officer.
A 37-year old man was also arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.
Mr Murdie said: “We know that these fights are being organised through social media and we would urge young people not to get involved in this this type of behaviour.
“We cannot have groups of youths fighting in the streets. Someone will get seriously hurt so we need the support of the community to put a stop to this now.
“Pre-arranged fights may start off between one or two people but could quickly escalate and the potential for serious injury cannot be underestimated. Younger children in particular could find themselves being drawn into a situation that is potentially very dangerous.
“We will continue to monitor reports of pre-arranged fights and respond appropriately, including focusing patrols in certain areas over particular times.
“I would urge parents to make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing, and to talk to them about the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offence.”
He added: “I would also like to remind young people there are consequences when you get involved in this type of behaviour. What might seem like fooling about can often result in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future. It is really important that young people understand this.”
Anyone aware of fights being arranged in their area has been advised to contact their neighbourhood policing team on the non-emergency number 101.