'Public will see an increase in patrols' following attacks in King's Lynn, police chief says
Residents of Lynn can expect to see more police on the streets following a flurry of attacks on members of the public posted online.
That’s according to the town’s Chief Inspector, who spoke out this week after the latest video, showing a man being knocked to the ground, was posted on social media.
On Wednesday, Amie Abbs, Chief Inspector for Lynn and West Norfolk, said dealing with and preventing incidents such as these is a key issue, particularly in and around Lynn’s bus station.
“I would reassure the public that this is a priority for us and I’m hoping that they will see an increase in high visibility police and patrols in the area,” she said.
“We are working really hard with our partners, in particular the council, to make use of CCTV in that area.”
The assurances follow the posting of two separate videos of assaults on social media in recent weeks.
Chf Insp Abbs said whilst social media can assist the police in terms of identifying suspects, it can also cause issues further down the line, at court, for instance.
“My advice would be in fact if you can identify somebody on a video that’s been posted to social media, contact the police in the first instance and direct us towards that video and we can continue an investigation from there,” she said.
The force has a duty of care to suspects, offenders and victims alike, she said, which can also prove difficult when personal information is posted online.
“I think that I would encourage people not to name and shame on social media, it does cause us a number of issues in terms of safeguarding, looking after the families and the people involved,” Chf Insp Abbs added.
“My advice would be to actually contact the police and explain to us how you can identify somebody and let us do the investigation.”
She added: “From a personal perspective I think it’s very sad that people are involved in assaults or anti-social behaviour and if they’re involved in it, they’re filming it, then they are playing a part in that assault or anti-social behaviour.”
The message is that if you do see an offence taking place, get in contact with the police with any information you may have to assist an investigation.
She added: “If you happen to witness something completely independent of the incident, don’t put yourself at any risk, I would certainly say that, however some footage or descriptions of those involved or just better timings is always really helpful to pass to the police as part of a wider investigation.
“But again my advice, and my plea to the public, if that’s something they were to do, is to contact the police first with the footage - don’t post it on social media.”
In addition to the immediate action of increased patrols, there are some longer-term plans the police would like to implement with the council for the town centre.
Chf Insp Abbs said, while the bus station, which is relatively new, is an asset to the town, they are aware the “design of it and the environment does attract young people to the area”.
She added: “We are working really hard with the council on plans for the environment.”
Three teenagers – two boys and a girl – all from the Lynn area were arrested in connection with a video of an assault in Lynn on Christmas Day which was widely circulated on social media.
All three have been bailed pending further enquiries to the end of January.
A second video was then uploaded to social media on Monday, after which a 16-year-old boy was arrested and then charged with a public order offence.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been released on bail with a curfew and conditions not to enter the town centre.
He will appear at King’s Lynn Youth Court on Tuesday, January 29.
Chf Insp Abbs said she had read comments online and wanted to reassure people that the second video posted more recently actually occurred prior to Christmas Day, in early to mid December.
“I know members of the public have commented about the lack of police action, believing that the second video posted actually occurred after Christmas Day, that’s not the case,” she said.
“Sometimes it does take a while for videos like this to actually be posted or shared but as soon as it has come to light to the police, we will take action as appropriate.”
There are pathways in place to prevent youths from getting involved with crime.
“I urge the public, if they are seeing large groups of youths causing issues, please call it in to us, and if you can identify anybody in the group, let us know,” Chf Insp Abbs said.
“We can start from a very low level in terms of intervention, of contact with parents, housing associations, the council, the youth offending team, there’s a number of things that we can do very low level to start off just dealing with the even minor anti-social behaviour.”