PSNI slammed for Lower Falls response

Sinn Féin councillor Fra McCann has hit out at the PSNI’s handling of the current wave of anti-social behaviour in the Lower Falls after it was revealed that they visited the homes of five of the main culprits to warn them of a planned protest outside their homes.

On Friday night over 400 local residents held a protest outside the homes of five youths they say are behind the vast majority of criminal activity in the area.

The Andersonstown News has learnt that the PSNI visited the homes of the five people earlier in the day to inform them the protest was going to take place.

Local MLA Fra McCann commended those local people who took part in the peaceful protest but added: “I have recently written to British Secretary of State Paul Murphy with regard to the actions of the PSNI in dealing with anti-social elements in the Lower Falls.

“It has been left to the local Community Watch to retrieve stolen cars, clear youths from the street and answer the distress calls of local people.

“I have asked Paul Murphy to visit the Albert Street area and see at first hand the actions of the so-called impartial PSNI.”

On Friday afternoon a number of homes were visited by the PSNI and the occupants told that there would be a protest later that day.

The Andersonstown News has obtained a copy of the PSNI warning handed to one local hood.

Fra McCann said, “For several months now the weekends have been unbearable for the people of this area.

“At no time have the PSNI attempted to arrest the culprits and have by their actions on occasions exacerbated the situation. They have even refused to enter the area and retrieve stolen cars until the Community Watch cleared young people from the streets.

“Yet they were all to willing to enter the Lower Falls on Friday to warn the ringleaders of a possible protest outside their homes.”

And Fra added: “On Friday people stood up and said, no more. I would commend those who travelled to the area to lend support and those local residents who came out, but I would add that further work needs to be done to reclaim our streets.

“Everyone has their part to play.”

Journalist:: Allison Morris

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