Call for more St. Columb's Park wardens

Calls have been made for additional park wardens to patrol St. Columb's Park following further reports of a mass gathering and underage drinking at the weekend.

Monday, 23rd April 2018, 5:41 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd April 2018, 5:46 pm
St Columb's Park, Derry.

It is thought that there may have been several hundred young people gathered at the public park at one point on Saturday evening.

Police said they monitored the gathering and confirmed that the Ambulance Service were called to attend to one individual. “There were no arrests and the area was cleared and quiet by 11.15pm,” a PSNI spokesperson said.

Speaking ahead of meetings later this week, DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton said that there has been long-standing issues with children as young as 11 gathering at the park and causing a nuisance. He said residents in the Browning Drive area were “sick, sore and tired,” of vandalism, attacks, and anti-social behaviour.

“We cannot have that level of police presence on St Columb’s Park every weekend,” he said. “There is a need for additional wardens, to maintain a physical presence throughout the park during the day.

“We would like to see something similar to Brooke Park. 
This will hopefully deter those coming to the park, which is an alcohol free zone, to consume alcohol.”

The Foyle MLA said the remit of community safety wardens could also be broadened to help address the problem.

A Council spokesperson said it was continuing to work with agencies including the PSNI to look at solutions to ensure St Columb’s Park “is a safe and family friendly environment for everyone”. “The Council will be meeting with relevant agencies this week to discuss the incident and to look at options to assist address this issue ahead of the summer months,” she said.