Galliagh police officer shows off ‘keepy-uppy’ skills in bid to discourage firestarters

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A community police officer on the Galliagh beat has been showing off his ‘keepy-uppy’ skills in a bid to encourage young people to stick to the football and steer clear of fire this summer.

The officer was among a group from the Ballyarnett Neighbourhood Team who were out patrolling the city’s northern estates as usual and chased off some kids who had lit a fire behind Galliagh Park.

In a light-hearted post on the PSNI Foyle Facebook, police issued a serious message about the negative impact fire-setting and anti-social behaviour can have on communities .

“We came in like a lightning bolt and the young fellas didn’t even have time to pick up their ball,” the PSNI said.

Police even posted a video of one of the Shantallow neighbourhood team juggling the confiscated football.

“We would very much like to return the ball so if there are any parents out there who recognise this ball then feel free to send me a private message. Unfortunately it is fairly likely that your child was involved in setting fires and anti-social behaviour,” the PSNI added.

The video was posted on Saturday after the ball was confiscated on Friday.

It was accompanied with the jocular hashtags #ICouldHaveBeenMessi, #PlayWithFootballsNotFire, #KeepingPeopleSafe and #OnlyTookOneTake.

However, the message will chime with many in the city following a week when police, the local council, and business leaders met to discuss the ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour throughout the city.

The meeting on Friday was called after large groups of young people convened at St. Columb’s Park, Marianus Glen and the embankment below the Derry Walls during the recent good weather, creating havoc for local residents.

The Facebook post is part of the PSNI’s engagment with the community it serves.