A crackdown on end-of-exam revellers’ anti-social behaviour may be photographed or videoed for social media, police have warned.
In a Facebook message PSNI Craigavon said they will be out in force and ‘there will be no gradual response, no blind eye turned to offences’.
Introducing ‘Op Snapper’, the police vowed to crackdown on the annual mayhem: “Every year we are inundated with calls about drunk teenagers fighting, falling in front of cars, engaging in serious anti-social behaviour, putting fear into the elderly and vulnerable, and generally being a bit of a pain in the backside.
“On top of that, A+E departments, already stretched, see kids coming in with drink-related injuries or alcohol poisoning. Ambulances, that should be there for cardiac problems, serious RTCs and the like, are held up baby-sitting irresponsible teenagers.
“Not this year,” said the PSNI Craigavon.
“We know ASB is a serious local concern across ABC district. We may be hitting burglars and cold callers hard; indeed burglaries are down again by recent figures, but people shouldn’t be afraid to walk their usual dog walking route or even be in their own homes just because some kids have no respect.
“We’ve heard the issues, we’ve listened, and now we’re taking the next step in our action against it.
“This weekend we will be out in force. Officers from across the district are this week analysing our latest ASB reports, getting a targeted plan together and will be hitting all of the hot spots when the time comes.
“If you’re finishing exams this week, congratulations. You’ve hopefully worked hard and get the results you deserve. It’s been a time of pressure. It’s now a time to relax. That does not mean however that you forget your responsibilities.
“Drinking in public is against council bylaws. Drinking or buying drink underage is illegal, as is buying drink FOR someone who is underage.
“It’s also illegal to use disorderly behaviour, yelling, roaring, swearing loudly in public - all disorderly behaviour. Fighting and assaults hopefully don’t need to be explained.
“There will be no gradual response, no blind eye turned to offences, and certainly no space given for those who don’t care about local residents.
“For violent offenders, it will be custody.
“For drinkers, your carry out will end up in the back of our vehicles, then disposed of (in a possibly humorous but yet to be decided but certainly filmed way!)
“Underage drinkers may be placed on our drink referral scheme and parents spoken to.
“In short, if you’re out celebrating exams, great - but behave. We will be there, we will be watching.
“Now some will say we’re out to “ruin fun” and that “they’re not doing any harm”. Tell that to residents who get abused in their own home by drunk youths. Tell that to the A+E staff who have to use a hospital bed to save the life of a passed out and incapable teenager. Tell that to the drivers who have to swerve round drunk kids and get stuff thrown at their cars. Tell that to the vets who treat dogs with broken glass injuries. Tell that to the council workers who on a weekly basis have to clean this mess up.
“Parents - you know what this means. You need to step up. We’ll not be on our own on patrol. We’re going to have partner agencies with us including youth workers to ensure the safety of everyone engaging in ASB. We’ll also be doing social services referrals where needed. If lazy or poor parenting is to blame for issues, action will be taken.
“Together, we can really hammer ASB into the ground without ruining anyone’s fun. That means parents KNOWING where your kids are and kids REMEMBERING your responsibilities under the law.
“Incidentally, ‘Op Snapper’ could be referring to the speed at which we’ll be taking drink off teenagers or arresting those behind violence. It could also be reference to the footage we will capture as we go. This Op will be done across ABC as a virtual ride along on both Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll be kept up to date with every child we have to take home, every bit of drink we seize and of course any arrests along the way.
“Watch this space. Op Snapper is coming!”