Police officer kicked in the face after attempting to disperse large beach gathering

A police officer was kicked in the face while she was dispersing a large gathering on a beach in County Down.

Four youths were arrested after officers were called to clear the gathering of around 200 from Ballyholme beach, near Bangor, on Friday night.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement said: “One police officer was injured after she was kicked in the face.”

A 17-year-old youth was charged with offences including assault on police and is expected to appear at Newtownards Youth Court on 23 June.

Two others, an 18-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy, have been released to be reported to the prosecutors, while a 15-year-old boy remains in custody.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “I understand that as time goes on, and with the current spell of good weather, some people may be tempted to get out and about and make the most of the sunshine.

“However, as a police service, our key role is to support our public health colleagues and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure we all play our part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives.

“The latest data available shows that the R (infection rate) number, which was flattening/falling, has actually increased again as restrictions have been eased.

“This means that every one of us needs to make informed and sensible decisions about our conduct over the coming days to ensure that we are protecting our own health and the health of others.”

Northern Ireland’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 522 after one person died on Saturday, according to the Department of Health.

Some 13 cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 4,709.

Police said there would be increased patrols at beauty spots, resorts and transport hubs over the weekend, focusing on crowds gathering in breach of coronavirus regulations, alcohol consumption in public places, speeding and drink driving.

Mr Todd added: “We will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to make the right choices and we will enforce when necessary.”

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