Children involved in Hotwalls riot invited to help solve anti-social behaviour problem

Children involved in riot-like scenes at the Hotwalls are being invited to talk to police and the community about ways to prevent anti-social behaviour.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 4:00 pm

More than 100 youngsters ran amok in Old Portsmouth in July last year after police tackling the annual issue of tombstoning tried to move a group on from the area.

Now some of them are set to take part in a ‘World Cafe’ next week with residents, ward councillors, and police.

It is being funded by a grant from the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund with firm Mutual Gain running the scheme.

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Next week around 100 people will gather at Portsmouth Guildhall, discussing in groups the issues the area faces.

From this, a report into the area will be developed. Those involved will be asked to come up with ideas to combat violence and anti-social behaviour.

These will then bid for a share of £15,000 funding at a public meeting. Anyone in the area can vote and get the final say on funding.

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Police called in as rampaging gang of '100 youths' cause carnage at Portsmouth H...
Youths at the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth on July 25 after police are seen making arrests. Picture: Neil Fatkin

Sgt Neil Bateman said: ‘It would be fantastic to hear the views of Portsmouth residents and local businesses when it comes to how we deal with issues around the Hot Walls.

‘We have had a core group of partners and local residents working together for a couple of years now and we are in a really positive position to achieve things together and move forward.

‘What is vital in this process is hearing the views of the wider Portsmouth community and how we can all work together collectively.’

He added: ‘No one wants to see a repeat this summer and the World Cafe really wants to explore how to ensure that the area is safe for everyone.

‘The aim of this World Cafe is to listen to residents and then work together (...) to help reduce crime.’

The scheme costs around £10,000 – with £1,000 paying for a £10 shopping voucher for the first 100 people signed up for the meeting.

St Thomas ward member Councillor Chris Attwell said some of ‘the young people who were involved' in the public order incident would be present at next Wednesday’s meeting and said finding a solution would be ‘inclusive’.

‘We want people to enjoy Old Portsmouth, it's a great part of our city that's why it's important traders and residents feel safe.’

Susan Ritchie, director of Mutual Gain, said the company has worked with Greater Manchester Police, Durham, West Midlands and others.

‘Lots of things get done on the basis of having a conversation,’ she said. ‘The more conversations you can have with people who are different to you, the better and better the community can be - and the solutions.’

Register for the 6pm-8pm meeting at [email protected]