Mop Fair policing to be reviewed after violent clashes in Marlborough (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Mop Fair policing to be reviewed after violent clashes in Marlborough
Police say they will have to review policing at next year’s Mop Fairs in Marlborough following violent clashes involving 40 people at Saturday’s fair.
Thirteen extra officers had to be called from Swindon and Devizes to swell the ranks of the 12 officers on duty after fighting started shortly before 9.30pm outside Ailesbury Court between two groups of youths and spread to the other side of the High Street outside the Vodafone shop.
At around 10.40pm between 30 to 40 people began running along the High Street fighting, and sporadic brawls broke out in New Road, the car park of Carphone Warehouse and Barn Street.
Two police dog units were also deployed and officers used pepper spray and batons to prevent the disorder from getting out of control.
Eight youths, five from Swindon and three from Marlborough, aged between 15 to 19, were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Sgt Barry Reed said: “The people that were arrested were under the influence of alcohol.
“Alcohol was also seized from 12 underage people, who were not involved in the incident, throughout the evening who have been referred to the Integrated Youth Services and will have to attend Restorative Justice Clinics which aim to keep young people out of crime.
“We will also be looking at liaison work with the secondary school and youth workers in the Marlborough area.”
Police are now reviewing footage obtained from police head cameras, independent CCTV systems and evidence gathered by police at the time of the incident and it is believed that further arrests will be made.
Sgt Reed said: “There were no serious injuries thanks to police intervention.
“There were more officers in the town than there have been in previous years, I think last year there were about eight officers and if that had been the case this year we might have struggled to prevent serious escalation and extreme damage.
“Because this is an unusual thing to happen at the Mop Fair we have to treat this as an isolated incident.
“There will certainly be a debriefing involving the county council, town council, Showman’s Guild and the police to discuss policing at the Mop Fair next year.”
Town and county councillor Stewart Dobson said that the incident was unfortunate but wouldn’t affect the future of the fair in the town.
He said: “We can’t let an incident like this ruin what is a fantastic, historic, event for the town.
“Most people who attended the fair enjoyed themselves and behaved well and we can’t let the few people who didn’t spoil it for everybody else.
“The police handled the situation very well. I left the fair at about quarter to 11 which is quite late and I felt perfectly safe walking back, there was a strong police presence.”
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