Reports of groups of up to forty young people running riot through Coleraine Town Centre have been described as ‘extremely worrying’ by MLA Maurice Bradley. Bradley has been contacted by several town centre residents and business owners in relation to anti-social behaviour over the past couple of weeks.
“We had bother in the town centre last summer with the same thing happening, these young people cannot be allowed to continue with this behaviour.
“I have been told that around 40 young people gather at different areas of the town just to cause trouble.
“Flowerbeds and phone boxes have been damaged, properties have also been burgled during the spate of trouble.
“There are reports of young girls screaming, loud shouting and just general anti-social behaviour.
“Residents in the town centre, many of whom are elderly are extremely anxious about the antics.
“At a time when we are trying to sell our town centre to potential investors, issues like this do nothing to help,” said Bradley.
The MLA has been in touch with the PSNI about the situation, he added: “I have been assured that the PSNI are increasing patrols in and around the town centre in a bid to resolve the problem.
“However, I would question the use of the town’s CCTV cameras.
“I understand that the system is manned during the day by a private security company, but after office hours it is manned by the PSNI.
“However, there are claims that this is only periodic due to PSNI operational issues.
“Surely with the technology that is available to us nowadays, the PSNI should be using CCTV as a tool to prevent crime and the fear of crime in the area.
“CCTV systems can be linked to mobile phones and viewed 24/7 – the notion that these cameras are not being looked at is senseless.
“What is the point of having them if they are not being utilised?
“Why are the PSNI not able to review the footage following incidents in the town centre and bring those responsible before the court – is this yet another waste of ratepayer’s money,” questioned the MLA.