Police have displayed some of the petrol bombs collected during violence in Derry last night, amid warnings that officers are having to be redirected from protecting the city.
Police said the same officers tasked to deal with the violence in the Bogside and Galliagh also later tended to two men with suicidal thoughts taken from two of Derry’s bridges overnight.
Four teenagers age 14 to 16 were arrested in the Bogside after trouble flared at Lecky Road and Westland Street. they have now been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
A crate filled with petrol bombs was also seized.
A fifth teenager (16) was arrested in the Collon Lane area of Galliagh following separate disturbances there. The 16-year-old has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.
Speaking at Strand Road Station on Tuesday morning, PSNI District Commander, Superintendant Stephen McEwan said he believed some of the violence was being orchestrated.
Confirming that a large number of petrol bombs have been seized, he said: “Last night again we saw attempts made to try and start disorder here in the Lecky Road area of the city.
“We have been working very closely with community representatives, and with our partners and elected representatives to come to a solution around this. That resulted in the very responsive policing operation that saw police move in to deal with any disorder, any potential disorder and four arrests were carried out.
“I believe there is an element of orchestration to this and again the result of that was in four young people being arrested.
“I would make an appeal to members of the public if you have any information about behaviour of this sort to let us know as soon as possible.
“I would also appeal to parents and carers out there to know where your young people are and to dissuade them from this sort of behaviour.
“We don’t want young people to end up criminalised, we are working with our partners to resolve these issues however we will do our job.”
“The police officers involved in this operation are then taken away from other duties of keeping people safe in the city. Again last night we had two vulnerable males, one on either bridge with suicidal thoughts and the same officers involved in quelling the disorder earlier on are then involved in ensuring these people’s safety and trying to get them the help they need.
“Whenever we have to deal with disorder and issues of this nature and those resources are being taken away from what their primary focus should be.”
Supt. McEwan said that throughout the day yesterday they have number of meetings with partner agencies and elected representatives and would continue to work them in a bid to prevent the situation escalating further.