Lancashire Police respond to criticism over ASB following BBC News investigation

Footage taken in the march of Chorley Police responding to ASB concerns in the village of Buckshaw. Credit: Lancashire Police

Police have been criticized for failing to respond appropriately to parents’ concerns over teenagers who rioted and attacked children as young as 11 in a Lancashire town.

Chorley Police issued a statement on Thursday following a BBC News program aired on Wednesday evening which looked into problems with anti-social behavior caused by a group of young people in the town.

The BBC’s months-long investigation focused on one group of teenagers in particular who were allegedly responsible for a number of vicious attacks on girls and boys in Chorley.

According to the report, children were attacked by the group, who filmed their attacks on a mobile phone and then shared the footage on social media to further embarrass their victims – an act known as “patterning”.

A group of Chorley mothers, who are fed up with the alleged lack of action by the police, told the BBC they had ‘waited too long’ for officers to investigate and were therefore forced to take things in hand. .

In response to the BBC News programme, a spokesperson for Chorley Police said on Thursday: “We are sure many of you have seen the BBC News report from Wednesday 31 August on assaults involving children and anti-social behavior (ASB) in Chorley.

“We want to provide more information and context to our communities. Rest assured that we do not condone this behavior and you will see more officers come out over the weekend to tackle ASB.

“No young person, or their parents, should be subjected to horrific attacks like those shown on the show or have to deal with the consequences and impact.”

Chief Superintendent Eddie Newton, Area Commander for the Southern Division, said: ‘I am sickened and appalled by the incidents and behavior of young people shown in the report, particularly the filming of children being attacked and the sharing of this footage. on social networks. media.

“Young people who have committed these crimes should be ashamed of their actions, and their parents/guardians should have frank and difficult conversations with them.

“I do not underestimate the impact this has had on the victims and their families. We have done a lot to support them and keep them informed and have been in constant dialogue with them over the past few months.

“I also fully understand the anger felt by the wider community in Chorley, Lancashire and beyond and so it is essential that we set out both what we have done in relation to the incidents shown and also the work more broad that we are committed to combating social anti-behaviour.

“These attacks took place over several months, the last one being reported to us in April this year.

“We have thoroughly investigated all reports and each youth official has been identified, interviewed on bail and has been treated, or is in the process of being treated, in accordance with national guidelines on the treatment of minors.

“The results for each of the offenders are determined by the young offenders committee, following our investigation.

“Of the total nine offenders, five have received youth warnings and four are still having their cases reviewed by the committee.

“I know a lot of people are unhappy with these results, but we are working within government guidelines through the Department of Justice and the Youth Justice Council.

“The presumption is that children and young people will not be arrested and will instead be treated in a way that prevents them from entering the justice system.”

Police said they take all reports of assault and anti-social behavior very seriously and that when people call them in an emergency they will always be there to answer the phone and dispatch officers as soon as possible.

The spokesperson continued: “We believe that all calls related to these incidents have been handled appropriately, but we understand that some parents are still not satisfied with our response and so it is only fair that we review everything. we did, and we will make sure that we keep all victims and their families informed and that all lessons for us are learned.

“We also review all incidents of ASB reported to us across the county and ensure we have a local proactive operational response in place where needed.”

Chief Superintendent Newton added: ‘At Chorley, we conducted proactive operations throughout the summer months to address local concerns.

“I also want to take this opportunity to reassure people that we will review our policing plans in light of this and do everything in our power to show local communities that we are struggling. effectively against the ASB.”

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