Hampshire police to "use all powers available" to tackle Portsmouth crime this summer amid Operation Nautical

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Hampshire police are planning to increase their efforts to tackle crime in Portsmouth this summer as people flock to the seafront - following a number of incidents last weekend.

A disperal order was put in place for much of Southsea last weekend - on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 - following violence, alcohol theft and damage to boats the weekend before. During the period it was in place, the force responded to a number of incedents on the seafront as large crowds of teenagers gathered around the beach and the promenade during the sunny weather. Among the incidents was a fight which on Sunday 19 which saw a 15-year-old boy arrested and another left with head injuries.

A Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary spokesperson has said that “additional resilience and staffing” will be used during weekends when the weather is good this summer.

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Inspector Dan Johnson from Portsmouth’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “A dispersal order, authorised under Section 34 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, was introduced across much of Southsea and Old Portsmouth over the weekend (May 18 and 19) in response to recent reports of anti-social behaviour in the area. The dispersal order covered South Parade Pier, Canoe Lake, Clarence Esplanade, the Hotwalls, and the Camber. It provided our officers the power to order a person to leave the area with no return within the specified time period.

“During our regular patrols on Saturday two groups of young people were removed from the area around the Camber, and another group was dispersed from the pier. On Sunday a 15-year-old boy was assaulted at South Parade Pier and another teenager was arrested as part of our investigation and subsequently bailed until August pending further enquiries. Officers also engaged with a large group that had gathered in the area at the time.

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy after a fight broke out on the Southsea seafront.Police arrested a 15-year-old boy after a fight broke out on the Southsea seafront.
Police arrested a 15-year-old boy after a fight broke out on the Southsea seafront.

 “We are continuing to work with partner agencies as part of Operation Nautical to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area over the summer months. We will take robust and proportionate action if any crime is reported, will use all powers available to us including dispersal orders as required, and will be targeting our patrols at key times in areas where issues are being reported to us,

“We are planning additional resilience and staffing during this period when good weather weekends are of a higher possibility. We will also be providing dedicated Operation Nautical briefings to officers and partners from agencies such as Portsmouth City Council, the Royal Navy, Portsmouth City Council, the Harbourmaster, the Coastguard, the Ministry of Defence and Youth Services - bringing all agencies together and allowing us to effectively share information and focus our patrols where they are most needed”.