A police crackdown on antisocial and abusive behaviour in Daventry has seen 13 teenagers being interviewed under caution.
Following a week of information-gathering as part of Operation Nugget, on Tuesday officers from the Safer Community Team and the Antisocial Behaviour Unit offered parents of disruptive teenagers the choice of their child being arrested or voluntarily attending the town police station.
Officers interviewed teenagers in relation to a number of incidents, including attacks on a postman and a teacher in school,damage to the town’s CCTV equipment and damage to a shop window.
Three teenagers have also been issued with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) forcing them to desist from anti-social behaviour in certain areas.
In addition four teenagers aged between 14 and 16 were arrested on Tuesday, February 17 in relation to allegations of racially aggravated criminal damage to a restaurant in High Street.
Sgt Sam Dobbs, who has been coordinating the operation said officers have been running more patrols in crime hotspots, scrutinising CCTV and speaking to local retailers to encourage greater reporting of offenders, the results of which have been telling: “I have to say that the majority of the teenagers we have interviewed at the police station have never been in the police interview room before and showed real remorse during their time with us, and their parents were largely supportive.
“A minority showed no remorse, and the response from a small number of parents was disappointing to say the least.”
Once the interviews – set to continue for the rest of the week – have concluded police will decide whether further action will be taken.
In the meantime, Sgt Dobbs said Operation Nugget will now move into its ‘prevention phase’, which will involve meetings between police and local schools and support agencies.
Sgt Dobbs pledged police would “come down very hard” on any future incidents more effectively thanks to new CCTV in the town and increased patrols, while district council solicitors are considering the use of new gang legislation.
However, he stressed he was keen to avoid criminalising remorseful teenagers caught out in a “crowd mentality” and called for parents, workers in retail outlets and anyone else affected by antisocial behaviour to report incidents so they can be dealt with effectively.
“They will be dealt with appropriately, as will those who are repeat offenders or show no remorse.
“I thank all those who have had the courage and strength to tell us about how this core group have acted in an almost feral way since the new year. I hope all those who have given us information will be encouraged by the past and ongoing work of Operation Nugget.”
Inspector Jon Lloyd, sector commander for Daventry district, added: “It’s been a very busy week for the team the response to the letter sent out by the secondary schools and the very responsible coverage in the Daventry Express has all been phenomenal. People have come up to us in the street to express their confidence in the stance we have been taking.
“Teenagers using the skatepark have approached officers to say they appreciate that we are targeting the few who spoil things for the many. Parents have contacted us to ask us for help where they feel their children are going off the rails or getting into the wrong company. We’ve also been able to deal with three assaults of violence, which is a key part of the forcewide Operation Limit.”