Police take steps to curb street violence between rival Chorley and Horwich youths
An outbreak of violence between rival gangs of teenagers from Chorley and nearby Horwich has forced police to take action.
A 48-hour dispersal order banning groups of youths from gathering anywhere in Horwich will come into force tomorrow at 8pm (Friday, July 17).
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it is working alongside Lancashire Police to curb tensions between the two groups, after shocking scenes of violence erupted on the streets of Chorley on Monday (July 13).
A Lancashire Police officer had to be taken to hospital after being injured in a crash whilst responding to the street fights between the groups in Chorley on Monday evening.
Police had been responding to reports of a confrontation involving a large group of youths in and around the Pall Mall and Duke Street area when the crash happened.
GMP, which has jurisdiction for policing in Horwich, said the dispersal order has been put in place to "reduce antisocial behaviour and prevent serious violence re-occurring".
Footage of the teenagers fighting each other has been shared on social media, with one video appearing to show a boy being kicked in the head.
Those who are asked to leave the Horwich area could be arrested if they refuse to comply with police orders.
A GMP spokesman said: "The measure has been taken by the local policing team in response to groups of young people who have been gathering in Horwich and Chorley and engaging in violence.
"Some of the incidents have been published on social media and show groups assaulting individuals. The footage is very concerning and needs to be prevented before anyone is seriously injured."
David Johnston, geographical inspector for Bolton West added: "I have been extremely concerned about an emerging problem of anti-social behaviour in the area which is fuelled mainly by teenage males who are gathering in numbers and then fighting.
"It appears that there may be tensions between groups from Horwich and Chorley and we are therefore working closely with Lancashire Police to prevent this problem escalating further.
"It has been sickening to see social media posts of young males being attacked and one video showing a boy being kicked in the head whilst defenceless on the ground.
"This is unacceptable and clearly needs dealing with now before we see someone sustaining serious injury.
"Therefore, I have authorised the dispersal order for this weekend and we will have additional officers in the area to deter such behaviour and educate people.
"The last resort will be the use of the dispersal power, but if it is needed we will use it robustly.
"I would please ask parents to make sure that they know where their children are and ensure that they are not part of these groups who are in the minority and ruining our community."
What is a dispersal order?
A dispersal order comes into force under Section 34 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and allows for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and police officers to direct a person to leave the area specified within the order if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that their behaviour has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public.