A TOP Hampshire policeman today warned people considering committing crimes linked to riots across the country: ‘Don’t bother.’
Chief Superintendent David Peacock - who is leading Hampshire Constabulary’s response to the civil unrest - said violent acts will not be tolerated.
Police say there is still no suggestion that riots that have broken out in other parts of the country could start in Hampshire.
But officers have been ordered to take ‘robust action’ to stamp out any trouble should it arise.
Chief Supt Peacock - formerly commander for policing in Portsmouth - said: ‘There is absolutely nothing to suggest that there will be any riots in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight.
‘Nevertheless we will be putting extra police officers on our streets round the clock for the next few days to reassure the public and deter any trouble.
‘I have a very clear message to anybody who has any intention of causing any disorder.
“We are very prepared for anybody who thinks that it’s acceptable to commit violent acts to the detriment of everybody else.
‘Put simply, this behaviour will not be tolerated and I have made it very clear to all officers and staff working this weekend that they are to take robust action to stamp out any trouble.
‘Everyone hopes that the scenes of civil unrest we’ve seen across the country have been a temporary departure to the tolerant and reasonable society in which we live and I am absolutely committed that those hell-bent on ruining other people’s lives pay the full price for doing so.”
Specialist officers from Hampshire Constabulary will continue to be deployed to help the Met in London this weekend.
Locally, the force is on 24-hour alert and officers in Portsmouth are keeping a close watch on the situation
Rest days have been cancelled for neighbourhoods policing, response, roads policing and custody officers. But the force has so far not cancelled annual leave.
Chief Supt Peacock added: ‘There are several events planned for the weekend including a football match in Portsmouth, the Boomtown Festival near Winchester and, of course, the end of Cowes Week and are firmly committed to policing them.
‘We are recalling to duty our neighbourhoods, response, roads policing and custody officers from their rest days but we are not cancelling annual leave.
‘Everyone in the constabulary at every level is investing an enormous amount of effort into putting our communities first in a way that those responsible for disorder don’t
‘I am determined that as a result our communities will not have to live in fear and can continue with their lives as normal.’