Virtual meeting to discuss anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick was well supported says Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown.
Last Thursday evening, Councillor Patrick Brown and Cadogan Enright hosted a virtual digital meeting inviting a range of agencies, political parties and members of the public to discuss improving the approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick.
Following the anger in Downpatrick after the arson attack at the old Downe Hospital building on Tuesday evening, there have been calls to address the growing threat of anti-social behaviour, particularly towards the old Done Hospital site where a new social housing scheme is being developed.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr PAtrick Brown said: “I would like to thank everyone who came along and attended what was a very constructive virtual public meeting on the issue of anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick.
“It was great to have strong representation from local politicians, PSNI, statutory agencies, business and community groups, as well as many members of the public.
“The meeting really demonstrated how widespread the problem of ASB in Downpatrick has become, and the need for collective action to address it.
“As well as hearing some of the harrowing experiences of those affected by ongoing ASB, many constructive solutions were discussed and will be followed up through continued partnership working.”
Cllr Brown added: “It is clear that due to Covid-19, regular diversionary activities at young people by agencies such as as the police and the PCSP for young people cannot currently happen, has contributed to an epidemic of anti-social behaviour in Downpatrick.
“Whilst a response is limited in what can be done in terms of diversionary activities at the moment, it is important that as a community we look forward to find ways to positively engage and empower young people who are at risk of being led down a dark path by a small number of dangerous, often older, ringleaders.
“It is also important that our justice system responds accordingly to punish repeat offenders who have made local residents in several parts of the town feel like prisoners in their own homes over recent months.”