Northern Ireland news

Police make nine St Patrick's Day celebration arrests

PSNI officers dealing with incidents in the Holylands area of Belfast

POLICE made nine arrests connected to St Patrick's Day celebrations in Belfast.

The PSNI said a complex police and partnership operation was in place on Sunday to ensure that a large number of events passed off peacefully.

About £100,000 was budgeted for the PSNI operation relating to St Patrick's week in central Belfast and the Holylands area.

This accounted for around 5,000 policing hours, a reduced operation from previous years.

Each year, crowds of drink-fuelled revellers usually descend on the mainly student area of south Belfast during the St Patrick's holiday period.

However, police were not expecting trouble this year.

An 'alcohol recovery centre' was opened in an attempt to take pressure off hospital emergency departments.

Off-licences near the Holylands also said they would voluntarily close if requested to do so by police.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said nine arrests were made in and around the city centre and Holylands.

"The arrests were for a range of public order offences such as disorderly behaviour and assault, including assaults on police," he said.

"While the majority of people celebrating in the city yesterday did so in a good natured and respectful fashion some did not heed our message to act and drink responsibly. In fact, the majority of those arrested were under the influence of alcohol."

A 19 year old male was expected to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court charged with assault on police and jaywalking.

Several others will be reported to the Public Prosecution Service and others were dealt with by way of community resolution notices and penalty notices of disorder.

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