Northern Ireland

Teen left unconscious and seriously injured after Falls Park assault

Police have urged parents to know where their youngsters are following weekend incident

Police attended Falls Park on Saturday after reports of crowds of young people engaging in anti-social behavior. PICTURE: PSNI
Police attended Falls Park on Saturday after reports of crowds of young people engaging in anti-social behavior.

A teenager has been left with serious injuries after being knocked unconscious during an assault by a group in a west Belfast park.

The attack happened at Falls Park on Saturday evening, where a large crowd of youths had gathered.

Police said they received a report of the incident shortly before 9.20pm.

PSNI Inspector Róisín Brown said the teen was “taken to hospital for injuries that are described as serious” and that other altercations broke out among a large group of young people in the park while officers administered first-aid.

“Further policing resources were deployed into the park and the young people eventually dispersed from the area,” she said.

”Police are very aware of the ongoing issues in Falls Park and are committed to finding solutions for the whole community. We want young people to gather and enjoy the park responsibly, however this type of violence is unacceptable.

”Local residents also have the right to feel safe where they live.”

She said those engaging in anti-social behaviour and criminality “are only hurting their own communities, and unfortunately sometimes themselves”.

“I appeal to parents and guardians again to know where your young people are,” she said.

”This was a very hostile environment for our officers, but police will continue to carry out additional patrols across west Belfast. Anyone who witnesses anti-social or criminal behaviour to contact police on 101 so that we can respond.

“We would also ask parents and guardians to speak to their young people and to know where they are to prevent them from engaging in behaviour which could result in injury or a criminal record.”

Last month saw four PSNI officers assaulted and damage caused to a police vehicle when officers responded to reports of anti-social behaviour in the park.

A park warden scheme introduced by Belfast City Council last year has been extended to Falls Park, where anti-social behaviour had increased by 29% in six months.