POLICE chiefs in Portsmouth are to face a grilling by a worried MP over the rise of violent crime in the city after a teenager was killed over the weekend.
Stephen Morgan has demanded a meeting with the city’s policing top brass after an 18-year-old, named locally as Ollie Blatcher, died in the early hours of Saturday.
Two men from Portsmouth – aged 28 and 32 – were arrested on suspicion of murder. They were released last night but police say they are still under investigation.
The Portsmouth South MP’s calls come just days after he urged prime minister Theresa May to take action amid an escalating series of break-ins across city businesses.
Fearful residents across Portsmouth said they were on edge following the latest serious incident to hit the area.
In a statement to The News, the Labour politician said: ‘Reports I am hearing are of significant concern. My heartfelt condolences to the family of the 18-year-old who has lost his life.
‘I have contacted the police commander, the chief of the city’s police, calling for a meeting to discuss concerns this week and ascertain police action.’
Mr Blatcher was thought to have been assaulted in Fratton late on Friday night or early on Saturday police said.
It is believed he travelled about a mile to Sackville Street, Southsea, where he collapsed.
South Central Ambulance Service said it was called at 1.54am to Sackville Street following reports of a teen in a ‘life-threatening condition’.
A spokeswoman added: ‘Two ambulances and an ambulance officer attended the scene. The man was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth in a life-threatening condition.’
He died at QA later that day.
Following his death, police sealed off the entrance to Oldbury House, with officers in white forensic suits sweeping the area for clues.
Elsewhere in the city, cordons were put in place in Guildford Road, Fratton, with officers also making door-to-door enquires in nearby Liverpool Road, Manchester Road and Sandringham Road.
Horrified residents have since spoken of their shock following the attack.
Kath Taylor, 64, has lived opposite Oldbury House for 16 years, and said there had been a surge of serious violent crime in the area in recent weeks.
She said: ‘A few weeks ago a man got stabbed and one almost got kidnapped.
‘It’s frightening. That doesn’t usually happen around here. Only lately have things got worse.’
Speaking of Saturday’s incident, she added: ‘It is a shock. It is very sad.’
One man, who asked not to be named, said he was growing increasingly concerned for his safety.
The 30-year-old said: ‘It’s pretty shocking. I had no idea about the incident last night. It is concerning.’
Marcus White, who lives in nearby Yorke Street, was walking past the crime scene.
The 24-year-old builder said: ‘It’s sickening to think this sort of thing can happen on your doorstep.’
Scores of people took to The News’s Facebook page to pay their condolences.
In Guildford Road, families said they were rocked by the police investigation in their street.
Mum-of-one Perrie White, 27, had just moved into the street a couple of weeks ago.
She said: ‘I’ve got a young daughter who lives here and we’re trying to keep her unaware of the situation and not to scare her.
‘We moved from Somers Town to avoid all this. I never thought this would happen here.’
David Oakshoot-Evans arrived home with his wife Rachel to see police cars parked outside their home.
The 35-year-old said: ‘We knew when we bought the house that Fratton wasn’t the greatest area. I thought it was all right. But to have something this significant and that horrible on your own doorstep is frightening. You don’t want to think about it.’
Police have not yet confirmed the victim’s name. They are appealing for information.
‘We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and may have witnessed anything suspicious,’ a spokesman said.
Witnesses or those with information are being urged to contact police on 101, quoting Operation Lighter.