X-ray of injuries sustained by 15 year old boy following a paramilitary style attack in June 2017
Today is the United Nation’s Universal Children’s Day and PSNI is supporting this by highlighting the continuing use of violence in paramilitary style attacks on young people and urging the community to work with us to bring these barbaric attacks to an end.
Latest statistics show there were 28 victims of paramilitary style shootings in 2016/17, double the number recorded in the previous year.
There was also an increase in the number of casualties of paramilitary style assaults, from 58 last year to 66 over the same period this year. Loyalist paramilitary crime gangs were deemed responsible for 56 of these casualties with the remaining 10 attributed to Republican gangs.
Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: “Around 6% of the paramilitary style attacks carried out last year were against people under 18 years. An attack against a person of any age, but particularly a child, is completely unacceptable in any society.
“This is child abuse and should not be tolerated by any rational person.
“Worryingly, there is some evidence of tolerance and even support in some of our communities for paramilitary style attacks as a form of summary justice - this is anything but just.
The people behind these attacks should be seen for what they are, hypocritical thugs trying to exert coercive control over communities by creating a climate of fear.
My appeal to those communities is not to simply shrug and ignore these attacks but give information to the police so that we can arrest and charge the people involved in carrying out these appalling shootings and physical assaults.
Our children deserve to be protected not punished.
We have a choice - this doesn’t need to be the future for our children. Work with us to make your community safer providing a better and brighter future for our children, by engaging with the only legitimate form of law within their community.
“In recent weeks police have made a number of arrests in connection with various paramilitary style attacks, including an arrest for the murder of Brian McIlhagga which took place in 2015.
“We will continue to work with our partner agencies through the likes of the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce to address communities’ concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour, and at the same time rid them of paramilitary coercion including these barbaric attacks.”