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PSNI urges community leaders to influence violent youngsters

Northern Ireland’s police have renewed their appeal to community leaders and families to step up after several petrol bomb attacks. The force has called for “those with influence” to curb anti-social behaviour.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland are investigating a number of incidents in Londnderry including a petrol bomb attack that targeted officers.

This week has seen two separate incidents despite the continued COVID-19 restrictions where youths have thrown stones and petrol bombs at police and properties in the area.

 In the early hours of yesterday morning, police received a report that a petrol bomb had been thrown in the Fountain area, striking a house.   When police were attending the scene, a petrol bomb was also thrown at their Land Rover.  A small rear window was broken.

Youths had also targeted officers earlier in the week. They threw stones and a number of petrol bombs at police, damaging the windscreen of a police vehicle. Petrol bombs were also thrown over the city's Walls.

No one was injured during these incidents.

Derry and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Emma Bond said: "It is disappointing to see this type of disorder in our city. We understand the impact this type of anti-social and criminal activity has on residents in the area who have a right to live in peace and enjoy their homes.

"I want to appeal to parents to know where their children are, who they are with and what they are doing. I would also urge those in the community to continue to use their influence to help prevent a repeat of this activity. And my appeal to anyone who has been involved, or anyone who is tempted to become engaged in this behaviour, to stop and consider the consequences of their actions, and desist immediately."

The traditional Protestant marches to mark 12 July had passed off largely peacefully last week but rows over a Republican funeral have raised concerns that tensions could increase over the summer.  

The impact of the COVID-19 has been harder on Northern Ireland’s economy than the rest of the UK. Official data revealed that 40% of retail space is now empty and the drop in the service sector has effectively wiped out four years of growth.

Against predictions of unemployment rising over the summer, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd has called on community leaders to intervene.

He said: “I would ask everyone, particularly those with influence, to continue to work with us to ensure that the rest of this holiday period can be enjoyed in peace and safety.”

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