Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Rise in antisocial behaviour in Mid & East Antrim second only to Causeway Coast & Glens in NI
Mid and East Antrim had the second highest rise in anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland during the last 12 months.
According to PSNI statistics, there were 4,918 incidents between September 2020 and August 2021 compared to 4,337, from September 2019 until August 2020.
Causeway Coast and Glens had the highest rise in Northern Ireland from 4,051 reported incidents between September 2019 until August 2020, to 4616, during the past 12 months.
A meeting of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) on Wednesday evening heard that anti-social behaviour includes excessive noise, graffiti, litter, fireworks, scramblers and quads.
A representative from the Youth Justice Agency told the meeting that the vast majority of young people are not engaged in this behaviour. Instead it is a “small few”.
He said: “For young people who are offending, they have to know they are going to be held accountable for their behaviour and people need to know justice is being done and those responsible are being held accountable for their behaviour.”
He explained that restorative justice enables young people to make amends whether it is an apology, payment or community service, for example.
The Criminal Justice Review recommended that restorative justice should be integrated into the juvenile justice system in Northern Ireland
The Youth Justice Agency representative went on to say that the agency works in partnership with other bodies including the Education Authority, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, PSNI and Probation Board to identify underlying issues, provide early intervention and signpost to other services.
“We work with families and try to encourage, support and assist them,” he explained.
“Rather than seeing young people come through our doors as offenders, we see them as children first and try to build up their strengths and abilities to improve opportunities available to them and to make communities safer and reduce levels of anti-social behaviour.”
The Youth Justice Agency aims to make communities safer by helping children to stop offending, working with those aged 10-17 years who have offended or are at serious risk of offending.