A TOP Isle of Wight policeman has branded the actions of up to 200 youths involved in a mini riot in Ryde and Newport on Friday night as 'utterly reckless and disgraceful.’
Chf Insp Nick Heelan told the County Press the behaviour of youngsters who became involved in serious public disorder during a party in Oakfield, Ryde, and which later spread to Newport, must never be tolerated.
The disorder broke out at around 9.30pm on Friday during a party which was announced on the internet.
Police were called by concerned residents when up to 200 drunken and noisy youths spilled out into the street. There there were reports of youngsters clambering into people’s gardens and over shop walls as the party spiralled out of control.
Around 30 police, including community support officers and special constables, eventually escorted the youngsters away from the party and shepherded them along Union Street, where a line of officers managed to get the youths to Ryde Bus Station.
Police boarded buses bound for Newport when fights broke out and stayed with them until they arrived in Newport.
However, fighting involving around 60 youths broke out in Church Litten when the buses arrived.
Officers deployed two police dogs, and some used CS gas and drew truncheons to disperse the mob.
Eight people, aged between 14 and 24, were arrested following the disorder, with three of the eight arrested for assaulting a police officer.
Chf Insp Heelan said officers had faced a challenging situation over four hours but managed to contain the violence.
He said: "It’s alleged one of our dogs was assaulted by a member of the crowd in the Church Litten area. Some officers were faced with volatile confrontations when they felt they needed to use their asps (batons) and CS gas to protect members of the public and themselves from harm.
"I understand and appreciate there will be concern when police use these tactics, but such decisions were not taken lightly. On this occasion, officers had made repeated attempts first to resolve the situation without force."
He added: "Extra police patrols were in place across the Isle of Wight on Saturday night to help prevent a repeat of Friday’s scenes. Officers made visits to parties to ensure people received the message loud and clear that we would be robust in our actions to protect the community from any further disorder.
"I am considering extra patrols again this weekend so the community can have confidence that police are working with them to do all we can to avoid such appalling scenes on the streets of our island again."
Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to call Newport Police Station by phoning 1021. Information can also be given anonymously by phoning the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.