No youth gang trend in Worthing, police commander says after 20 people involved in fight

Police received nearly a dozen calls to the first incident. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Police received nearly a dozen calls to the first incident. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Violence between youth gangs is not a significant problem in Worthing despite last week’s fight involving up to 20 young people, the town’s police commander has said.

After getting nearly a dozen 999 calls, officers attended Cortis Avenue and diffused the situation on Wednesday afternoon last week.

Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell said the wider public has a responsibility to deal with anti-social behaviour

Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell said the wider public has a responsibility to deal with anti-social behaviour

That same evening police received more calls about two groups fighting in the same area, and officers again attended.

But Worthing’s district commander Miles Ockwell has said these incidents are isolated and are not part of a trend.

Chief Inspector Ockwell told the Herald: “We haven’t had a pattern of disturbance between large groups of young people.

“We have not had anything like that for a long time.”

There is a wider responsibility to give these people something to do, is not just down to the police

Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell

Following the incident a 16-year-old boy from Lancing was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill and has been released under investigation, police confirmed.

A second boy, also 16, from Worthing was arrested and charged with possession of a knife in a public place, said police.

Both arrests occurred following the second reported incident.

Ch. Insp. Ockwell added: “It was a positive police response.

“We have got special police patrols and we are working very proactively in trying to make sure these groups get the message that fighting and carrying knives is unacceptable and we will deal with them very robustly.”

Speaking about anti-social behaviour in general, he said most of it is down to a small minority.

“Lancing is a particularly challenging area for anti-social behaviour, but it is also full of law abiding young people who get a bit of a bad press from a lot of people who like to brand them all with the same brush.

“There is a wider responsibility to give these people something to do, it’s not just down to the police to stop anti-social behaviour in the holidays.

“We have to look to the public.”

Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour or violence in their area should report it online or call 101. In an emergency always call 999.

What do you think? Does your area have a problem with youth crime or anti-social behaviour?

Email your views to Crime Editor Michael Drummond at: michael.drummond@jpress.co.uk.