First night without Covid notices in south Belfast in three weeks

Police have had to crack down on house parties in the Holyland area of south Belfast due to the risks around Covid-19. Credit: Presseye

Police say they have experienced the first night in nearly three weeks of not having to issue Covid notices over breaches in south Belfast.

The PSNI has been working alongside council officers and university representatives to response to concerns over anti-social and criminal activity, particularly in the Holyland area of the city.

House parties and other gatherings have continued in recent weeks, despite public safety laws and guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

However, no Covid notices, prohibition notices or community resolution notices were issued from Thursday afternoon through to the early hours of Friday.

At the start of the week, 55 Covid notices were issued in one night – 31 of them at one house alone. Dozens more have been issued since then.

However, police have tentatively welcomed the improvement and say they will continue to try to resolve issues with advice and guidance before moving to issuing notices or making arrests.

PSNI Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “We have consistently warned people of the risks and potential repercussions of not following the health protection regulations, which not only puts themselves, their families and the local community at risk, but also risks impacting on their education and career opportunities.

“I would particularly appeal directly to young people who have moved to the area, to recognise the importance of being good neighbours.

“Please do not invite friends to visit or socialise in this residential area and follow the health protection regulations to protect yourselves and others from Covid-19.”

While not all the young people involved are students, those who are in further education have been warned that getting in trouble with the law over breaches of coronavirus regulations could have serious consequences – including suspension from their courses, or even expulsion.