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Quiet Norfolk town sees extra police patrols amid fears over gangs

PUBLISHED: 15:01 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:00 05 March 2019

Diss Safer Neighbourhood Team ran a public event at Mere Mouth on March 2  to discuss concerns about gangs, knife crime and county lines. Picture: Norfolk Police

Diss Safer Neighbourhood Team ran a public event at Mere Mouth on March 2 to discuss concerns about gangs, knife crime and county lines. Picture: Norfolk Police

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Police have written to residents of a South Norfolk town to reassure them after stepping up patrols in response to concerns about gangs and a fracas that led to three arrests.

Police have written to reassure residents in Diss after stepping up activity in response to fears about gangs, knife crime and  a violent incident in the town. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice have written to reassure residents in Diss after stepping up activity in response to fears about gangs, knife crime and a violent incident in the town. Picture: Simon Parkin

A letter has been sent to households and businesses in Diss outlining why the town centre has seen a greater police presence over the past 10 days.

Inspector Jason Selvarajah states in it: “I recognise that increased levels of policing can cause alarm particularly when recorded crime is low.”

He goes on to reveal police have stepped up their presence after the Diss Safer Neighbourhood Team received information about youngsters forming a gang in the town.

Police have written to reassure residents in Diss after stepping up activity in response to fears about gangs, knife crime and  a violent incident in the town. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice have written to reassure residents in Diss after stepping up activity in response to fears about gangs, knife crime and a violent incident in the town. Picture: Simon Parkin

“We immediately put measures in place that included interviewing parents and children of those suspected to be involved by outlining the dangers of being in a gang,” he states.

The letter comes amid greater police activity in response to arrests following a violent confrontation involving teenagers. Two boys aged 16 and one aged 17 were arrested on February 19 at Mere Street on suspicion of affray, assault ABH and possession of an offensive weapon.

The letter adds: “Unfortunately last week an incident occurred on Mere Street involving members of the alleged gang, which resulted in the arrest of local males. We had received reports that knives were involved, but I can confirm no one sustained knife injuries and no knives were found by police.

“These arrested have been referred to the Youth Offending Team and there appears to be no increased theatre to the wider community.

“It has been necessary to increase patrols in order to prevent any reoccurrence of the incident on Mere Street and to engage with young children, who may become attracted to being part of a gang.”

The incident comes as the issues of youth and knife crime have been in the headlines. Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Hogan-Howe has urged the government to appoint a knife crime tsar in order to “get a grip” on the rise in youth violence.

The Diss Safer Neighbourhood Team also ran a public event at Mere Mouth on Saturday to discuss concerns about gangs, knife crime and county lines.

Inspector Selvarajah said presentations on knife, gang and drug crime had also been done at high schools across South Norfolk.

Anyone with information or concerns about gangs in Diss is being urged to contact police via 101 or by emailing at enquiries@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

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