Efforts are under way in Kinallen to stem a tide of anti-socal behaviour that includes glueing razor blades to play equipment in a seemingly deliberate attempt to put children at risk.
On Friday, residents and Kinallen Rural Community Development Association representatives met local MP Jeffrey Donaldson at Fair Hill Primary School, there to signal that vandalism and ongoing anti-social behaviour could not be tolerated.
All agreed action was needed as part of a co-ordinated approach and Mr Donaldson is now planning to host a meeting of statutory agencies with a view to combating those “whose only intention is to vandalise, destroy and put at risk the safety of young children”. He said: “I am very concerned about what is happening in Kinallen, and in particular the vandalism and destruction at the play area and the MUGA pitch close to Fair Hill Primary School.
“Residents reported wanton acts of vandalism, including razor blades glued to a slide used by young children and broken glass being left in the play area and on play equipment.
“There are used condoms, drugs paraphernalia, alcohol bottles, vandalism to play facilites, changing rooms and the school, including graffiti and the destruction of solar panels.
“In a small community like Kinallen, this kind of behaviour, some of it by people who don’t live in the community, is causing unserstandable concern, especially among parents.
“Every time the school and nursery want to use the facilities adults have to carry out a full check of the play area to try and identify any risks.”
In August the Leader reported claims that parents bringing children to Kinallen park risked exposing them to scenes of drink and drugs taking and spectator sex, this amid concerns over police response times.
Chief Inspector Paul Reid said at the time: “Police have regularly patrolled the area, both in vehicles and on foot, to provide reassurance and have conducted other operational activity to deter and detect criminal activity.
“Although no reports of any illegal sexual activity in this area have been received by police, anyone found to be committing offences will be dealt with robustly and, where appropriate, brought before the courts.I am aware of concerns about illegal drugs in the area but I want to reassure the community that we take the issue very seriously and are doing everything possible to disrupt the supply of drugs and bring those involved before the courts.”
Mr Donaldson said this week what was now needed was a co-ordinated approach, which should include preventing night-time access to the play facilities by those “who seem only intent on making life a misery for the local community . ..”
He added: “We’re also looking at the possibility of erecting CCTV as a futher deterrent and to identify whoever is responsible for this totally unacceptable behaviour. I will be convening a meeting of statutory bodies, to include the education authority, police and council, as well as parents’ representatives and representives of the school, to see if we can come up with an acceptable way forward to ensure this much valued community facility is safeguarded . . .”