Hotwalls youth arrests: Calls for more police to deal with 'violence and disorder'

CALLS have been made for more police to be drafted in to tackle youth nuisance problems after teenagers were arrested amid a large-scale disturbance.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 5:13 pm
Updated Friday, 26th July 2019, 7:03 pm

People living in Old Portsmouth and those charged with community safety want more police in place after four youngsters were arrested.

Hampshire police insisted it had increased patrols and an extended dispersal order in the area after Thursday’s incident at the Hotwalls with more than 100 children present.

Parents of those at the scene told The News that youngsters were ‘absolutely terrified’ when officers moved in. Hampshire police has received no complaints about officers’ actions.

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Youths at the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth on July 25 at around 4.40pm as police are seen making an arrests.

Broad Street resident David Lloyd, who witnessed the incident, said 'police dogs and pepper spray' should be used to tackle anti-social behaviour, which had become 'worse and worse' over the years.

He said: 'It took three police officers to arrest a 13-year old kid.

'People did not feel safe to drive down the road, let alone walk down the street.’

Officers arrested a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl on suspicion of assaulting a police officer but released both under investigation.

A 15-year-old boy was held on suspicion of using threatening words of behaviour. He was released under investigation.

Another 15-year old boy was arrested for failing to give officers his details, but was de-arrested.

Cabinet member for community safety, Councillor Lee Hunt, said there was 'just not enough police around' to deal with the 'violence and disorder.'

He said: ‘Everyone knows there are just not enough police around, and they are stretched to the limit.

'The city council has doubled the number of community wardens and is working to improve and expand CCTV.’

Councillor Chris Attwell, of St Thomas ward, said he held an 'urgent meeting' with councillors and senior police officers yesterday morning.

He said: ‘This incident in old Portsmouth was incredibly serious.’

A dispersal order, which the police were enforcing when the incident flared up on Thursday, applies from Clarence Pier to The Point, allowing police to move on crowds that could lead to anti-social behaviour and crime. It runs out on Sunday at 3pm.