‘If the police won’t do their job, we’ll do it for them’

Mums Leanna, Lisa, Jade and Toni

Mums Leanna, Lisa, Jade and Toni have protested outside their local police station

Children as young as 11 have been subjected to brutal attacks by teenagers in a Lancashire town – with the assaults filmed and shared on social media.

Victims’ mothers say police aren’t doing enough to stop the group and have taken matters into their own hands.

The mother of one girl said she was told her daughter could have been one blow away from losing her life.

Lancashire Police say they take assault and anti-social behaviour seriously.

The BBC spoke to eight sets of parents in Chorley whose children were violently assaulted.

The parents believe the police have not responded fast enough, and say that’s why they feel compelled to share their footage further – and have asked us to show it. They also want to illustrate the seriousness of the attacks.

It’s thought the same group of teenagers was responsible for all the incidents.

The videos show children being dragged to the ground – squealing and crying out as they try to shield their heads from kicks and punches. Voices of others can be heard, off-camera, egging-on the attackers.

Filming such violence and humiliation, and then sharing it online, has become known by the term “patterning” – with the aim of embarrassing victims even further by forwarding the videos across the web.

A BBC News investigation has spent months talking to people in England and Wales about their experiences of reporting crime – victims who say they have been left in despair, forced to do their own detective work, and waited too long for police help.

Lisa’s daughter – 14-year-old Bethany – was set upon by a group of girls and was viciously beaten. She managed to call her mother during the attack in April last year.

“I got a phone call – with her absolutely screaming ‘Mum, please. They’ve got me. They’ve got my hair. My hair is falling out. Now they’ve stomped all over me.’

“I could hear what the girls were saying. ‘Kick her again. Kick her again. She’s down, kick her again.'”

The violence was also being filmed and would soon be posted on social media.

“They punched her numerous times and stamped on her head. They all took turns. They pretended to let her up, but then hit her back to the ground and did it again,” says Lisa.

“The doctor actually said that one more stamp to the head would have most likely taken her life.”

Lisa says the police were called as the assault was happening.

“We rang 999 while she was on the phone. We begged them. Nobody appeared. The [police] never arrived for 48 hours.”

Lisa says despite calling 999, there was “no urgency whatsoever” despite officers being aware of the group having caused trouble across the town. It took weeks, she says, for Bethany’s attackers to be arrested. Two of the girls involved have now written a letter of apology after being given a conditional caution.

Although Lisa believes it’s not a case of officers failing to care. “I got the impression the police believed it was pointless – that nothing will come of it.”

Lancashire Police told us: “When people call us in an emergency, we will always be there to answer the phone and to send officers as soon as we can where there is an ongoing threat or risk.”


“These girls feel vulnerable. They’re scared. It’s all over social media,” says Leanna

Another mum, Leanna, recalls the moment her 11-year-old daughter, Indie, came home after being attacked in a park.

“She walked through the door, her face was swollen. She had a burst lip and her hair was falling out. I’ve never in my life seen her that scared and upset,”

Leanna says they headed straight to the Chorley Police Station to report what had happened. At the front desk, she says she asked to see an officer – but was told there was no-one available to see her.

“I was gobsmacked, in disbelief really,” she says – explaining how it took officers four days to take a statement. Two of those in the attack would later receive a voluntary caution.

“The police are the ones supposed to be protecting the children. They’re supposed to be there to take the worries away and say, ‘Don’t worry, they’re not going to do it again.'”

In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “When there is no ongoing risk or threat, or crime in action, we will arrange to visit people at a time convenient to them so we can investigate and solve crime and deliver the best outcomes for all.”

But Leanna believes the police’s response to these types of crimes needs to change.

“These girls feel vulnerable. They’re scared. It’s all over social media.”

Another 11-year-old, Ellissia, was attacked on the same day as Leanna’s daughter, in a subway at the same park, by the same group.

“They’re just brutal. It’s horrific watching [the video],” says Ellissia’s mum Jade. “I feel like she’s just a baby. And that’s your baby on that floor. I’m just so angry with them.”

Images of a boy and girl being attacked in Chorley

Stills from the videos of the attacks on Toni’s son and Jade’s daughter

After ringing the police, Jade says it took two weeks for an officer to visit the family. She says she was told police would only arrest the attackers if her daughter’s injuries were more severe – like brain damage.

Two of those involved in the attack received a voluntary caution, which Jade says is completely unacceptable considering the violence used.

“You expect the police to do everything to make sure that you get justice for your child – and when they don’t, you feel like you’ve been let down and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Jade says the group of teenagers has been allowed to run riot for too long.

“They’re not only attacking 11-year-old kids, they’re attacking members of the public, bars, pubs, people’s businesses.”

“If [the police] had reigned it in then, none of this would have happened.”

Lancashire Police say they are proud of their “proactive approach to policing” in Chorley and elsewhere.

“We regularly run operations aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour as part of our aim to deliver an outstanding service to the public and build confidence.”

If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this report, details of organisations offering information and support for bullying are available via BBC Action Line.

Each mum we spoke to described not just the physical, but also the mental scars left on their children after the attacks.

Jade believes Ellissia has lost confidence, but tries to “put on a little show to stay above water for everybody else”. Leanna says Indie is resilient but fearful.

Lisa says Bethany didn’t leave the house for a year and has now been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She should be going out locally and making memories – says Lisa – but instead she travels to other towns with her friends to avoid her attackers.

In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “We recognise the impact that these incidents have had on the victims and their families, and we have done a huge amount to both support them and to keep them updated.”

Families protesting outside of Chorley Police Station

“If there is any police looking out the window, this is my daughter’s face after she was stamped on so many times,” shouts Lisa

Outside Chorley Police Station last month, parents gathered to show their frustration and anger – each mum holding a large photo of their child.

“If there is any police looking out the window, this is my daughter’s face after she was stamped on so many times,” shouts Lisa in front of the gathered crowd – her photo showing Bethany’s red, swollen face.

“If I had done that to my child,” she says, “I, rightfully, would have been taken right away.”

Another mum – Toni – is there. Her son suffered one of the worst attacks. He was beaten to the ground by a group of boys.

“[The gang] punched him, kicked him, headbutted him. He could have come home a lot worse. He could have not come home [at all].”

Toni says she has repeatedly asked police for updates but, four months on, is still waiting for an outcome.

Lancashire Police say they are still investigating the assault on Toni’s son.

The force says all calls in relation to all the incidents in this article have been “dealt with appropriately”.

“We have identified and arrested offenders and they have been dealt with in line with national guidance on dealing with juveniles.”

Some parents, says Toni, are keen to enact their own form of justice against the teenagers.

“I’m glad they haven’t done. But something has got to give before a family is going to end up ruined.

“Is somebody going to end up dead? Whether it be one of our children or one of their children.

“Then are they going to wake up and do something about it? It’s too little too late by then as far as I’m concerned.”

Meanwhile dozens of parents are being proactive – patrolling the park where the children were attacked.

Mums patrolling a Chorley park

“Look what we’re having to resort to,” says Leanna as she patrols the park with other mums

“I can’t believe it’s come to this, but I understand why it has, because our children aren’t being protected,” says Lisa. “I’ve got to make sure that if my daughter’s down here that I’ve got to do the police’s job. I’ve got to make sure she’s OK.”

The mothers claim police foot patrols are non-existent – and say when they’ve called 999 nothing has happened. “What good has it done us?” says Leanna.

“Look what we’re having to resort to. We entrust the police to be there to protect our children. And because they can’t do that, we’re going to have to do it.”

Follow Ed Thomas on Twitter

Banner saying 'Get in touch'

Banner saying ‘Get in touch’

How have you been affected by the issues raised in this story? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:

If you are reading this page and can’t see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at HaveYourSay@bbc.co.uk. Please include your name, age and location with any submission.

0 Response to "‘If the police won’t do their job, we’ll do it for them’"

Post a Comment

Iklan Atas Artikel

Iklan Tengah Artikel 1

Iklan Tengah Artikel 2

Iklan Bawah Artikel