Police have met with representatives from local secondary schools in Ballymena, with ongoing issues at the town’s bus station on the agenda.
The transport hub has been the centre of ongoing anti-social behaviour issues, and more recently a 13-year-old boy sustained facial injuries during an assault close to the station, in which a hammer was used.
Following the incident in April, three boys aged 14, 15 and 16 were arrested and released on bail pending further police enquiries.
And in the run up to Halloween last year, the Times reported on concerns over schoolchildren throwing fireworks in the vicinity of the station.
In one incident, a child narrowly missed serious injury after a lit firework was placed in his blazer pocket.
Inspector Simpson from Ballymena Neighbourhood Policing Team said pupil safety was discussed at this week’s meeting, and in particular Ballymena bus station.
Also in attendance was Ballymena Learning Together, the local PCSP, representatives from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Translink.
“I was able to update them on our policing operation last week to tackle both the use of drugs and anti-social behaviour,” Insp. Simpson said,
He added: “I updated the group on the use of Jazz, our passive drugs dog as well as plain clothes officers to detect and report suspicious behaviour.
“We also carried out a number of drugs searches and engaged with the kids involved.”
Insp. Simpson said the police operations will continue throughout the remainder of the school term.
“They will be supported by all the schools working in partnership in an effort to keep your kids safe,” Insp. Simpson said.
He added: “As I reported to the group [on Wednesday], I was also encouraged about how well most of the kids behaved bearing in mind we have thousands of kids from different schools and backgrounds in such a confined space.
“You all have a commitment from PSNI, local schools, translink, PCSP and council to work together to continue to improve things at the bus centre.
“Please me mindful of the fact that just because you don’t see police in uniform, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”