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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 September 2005, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Police act after racial violence
By Hannah Bayman
BBC News, Farnborough

Pc Mick Oliver searches a youngster in Farnborough
Dozens of youngsters were searched during the operation
Police have been operating a zero-tolerance policy over the weekend after racially-aggravated violence between youngsters in Hampshire.

Officers acted after recent fights between white youths and those from Nepalese backgrounds in Farnborough.

Dozens of children aged between 13 and 18 have been stopped and searched and police said the high-visibilty operation seemed to have paid off.

On Sunday police said Saturday night had passed peacefully.

A force spokesman said groups of youngsters had been gathering in and around Farnborough, but that no violent incidents had been reported.

It follows an earlier incident on Friday, when a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon after he was found with a pool ball and golf ball in a sock.

Last weekend, a white boy was slashed across the hand and a Nepalese boy was knocked out with a blunt weapon. No arrests have so far been made over the incident.

Police on patrol in Farnborough
Police patrols continued late into the evening on Friday and Saturday

The weekend before, police stopped three Nepalese youngsters carrying wooden stakes, and white youngsters who they believe were also preparing for a fight.

The inter-community violence is the latest development in a string of disturbances involving youngsters during the summer.

Residents living near Queens Park and King George V playing fields in South Farnborough have complained of groups of up to 100 teenagers gathering to drink, fight and cause criminal damage.

Twenty officers, including dog teams and the Hampshire Police force support unit, which specialises in difficult incidents, patrolled the area on Friday.

There should be a youth club on the weekends - we're bored
Daniel Nelson

Speaking late on Friday evening, Pc Mick Oliver, of Farnborough police, told BBC News: "It looks as though the police presence we have put out tonight has done the job.

"Hopefully the message will get across to the rest of the kids here that we're not going to stand for any of the problems they can cause."

Luke Moore, 18, from Farnborough, who was searched by Pc Oliver, said: "It's good to know the police are doing something in the neighbourhood. It's quite cool they are going around checking people."

Daniel Nelson, 16, from Cove in Farnborough, was at Queens Park to meet his friends. He said: "During the week there's a couple of youth clubs, but nothing to do at the weekend.

"There's quite a bit of trouble down here and last week there was a clash between the Nepalese people and our lot."

He said there was not a divide between the two communities: "That was just one mad fight."

The Nepalese community in the Farnborough and Aldershot area is estimated at about 6,000.

Many of those are the families of Gurkhas or former Gurkhas, who have served at the base in Aldershot.


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