Statistics reveal number of young people arrested across Mid Ulster

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Over a third of everyone arrested in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt over the last year were under 24-years-old, according to PSNI statistics.

The shocking new figures, released to the Mid Ulster Mail through a Freedom of Information request, cover the 1,855 arrests made in all three areas between July 2013 and June 2014.

And although police were quick to point out that the total number of arrests involved a lesser 1,439 separate people, they also highlight the huge number of young people with whom they have had dealings with between 2013-2014.

In Cookstown a massive 41.6% of all arrests made in that period involved a person under 24-years-old, this included 39 children under the age of 18 and 190 young people aged between 18 and 24.

The number of youngsters arrested in Dungannon was considerably higher, with 42 under 18s, and 252 18-24-year-olds facing police, but this may be a reflection of the fact that Dungannon’s 57,900 population is much greater than both Cookstown (37,000) and Magherafelt (45,000).

However, the percentage of the total number of arrests made in Dungannon that involved youths, was lower with just under a third (32.5%) involving under 24s.

In Magherafelt, although the number of youngsters arrested was much lower - with 29 under 18s and 116 18-24-year-olds feeling the full force of the law, the percentage of youths facing police made up 36% of the total number of arrests in that district.

This means, on average, across all three Mid Ulster districts, an average 36% of all those arrested by police were under 24 (5% were under 18) and this figure doesn’t change much in relation to the percentage of charges resulting from those arrests (32.4%).

Disorderly behaviour, common assault, driving with excess alcohol in the breath, drugs offences, theft, burglary and criminal damage all featured heavily amongst the reasons for the arrest of people under 24, as did assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Other offences for which youngsters were questioned by police in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt over the last year included rape, attempted murder, witness intimidation, breach of bail, making indecent photographs of children and aggravated burglary with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

In Cookstown 17 18-24-year-olds and 8 under 18s were questioned for theft - the most prevalent reason for arresting under 24s in Cookstown and Dungannon according to police - 20 18-24-year-olds and 5 under 18s faced the same fate in the latter district.

Meanwhile in Magherafelt just two 18-24-year-olds and not one under 18 were arrested for the same crime. In this district the crime with the most arrests of under 24s was common assault with a total of 20 arrests made.

Another notable statistic was the number of young people arrested for possession of a Class B drugs in Magherafelt where 12 such arrests were made between 2013-2014, while in Dungannon just seven were questioned and in Cookstown another four faced police.

In Dungannon, however, four under 24s were arrested for possessing Class A drugs, and another one was listed in Cookstown.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Where an offence has been committed Police take appropriate action, regardless of the age of the perpetrator.

“Police use a broad range of disposals methods which are applicable across all age groups and those under 18 are referred through the Youth Diversion Officer.”