"Copy Cat" trouble in the Thames Valley

10 August 2011, 09:23 | Updated: 10 August 2011, 15:19

Police confirm reports of small amounts of violence in the area.

Officers say there have been "small outbreaks of disorder" in parts of the Thames Valley between Monday and Wednesday with most of the problems around Oxford and Reading.

Here's a summary of incidents over the last couple of days:

  • In Oxford, officers have three people after a fire at McDonald's in Headington just after midnight on Tuesday. They are also treating a car fire in Barton at 12.50am as arson.
  • Overnight on Monday in Berkshire, a small group of young people wearing masks flipped a car over in Whitley. Police say they put out a Section 60 Order, which allows them to remove masks and balaclavas from anyone in the area.
  • Another car was also set on fire in Northcourt Avenue in Reading on Monday night.
  • On Tuesday night the police helicopter was used to keep an eye on groups out in Blackbird Leys, Barton and Oxford City centre after reports of anti-social behaviour.
  • In Banbury four people have been arrested after a shop window was smashed.
  • Another 9 are being held after a burglary at the Macro store in Elgar Road South early on Wednesday morning.
  • There were 14 reports of bin fires in Reading between 1am and 2:20am on Wednesday

More than 200 specials made themselves available on Tuesday night with more than a 100 deployed.

Superintendent Amanda Pearson (pictured top right), Police Commander for Oxford is reassuring people in the city.

"We've got sufficient officers to patrol the city. The neighbourhood policing teams will be out and about. The council's community response team will be patrolling and I'd urge them to contact them directly if they've got any concerns about disorder or they have any information to share."

As well as dealing with these issues, Thames Valley Police still has officers in London to support their colleagues in the Metropolitan Police.  

Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood, said:

“There have been a lot of rumours circulating on social networking sites about ‘riots’, some of which are untrue or greatly exaggerated.  However, there has been some disorder across the force area.

“These are copy cat incidents of those that have been happening in London, although involving far fewer people. Obviously, we are aware that these incidents and the images people will have seen from the problems in London and other areas of the country will be causing distress and anxiety.

“You may notice an increase in the number of police officers in your area at this time and this should not cause alarm. These officers are there to provide reassurance and tackle any criminal activity that may occur.

“I would also like to appeal to the community to let police know of any suspicious looking gatherings of young people and any information they may have about people who may have been involved in disorder.”

Thames Valley Police is advising businesses in the area to do the following as a precaution:

1 Ensure staff report any suspicious activity to security officials and the police

2 Consider regular checks of the building and surrounding areas. Identify any areas that are vulnerable and remove loose objects that could be used as missiles.

3 Make sure all service doors are kept locked and secure when not in use

4 Ensure your CCTV system is fully operational

5 Consider removing high value goods from display windows overnight

6 Keep as little cash as possible in the building overnight

7 Where possible retail premises should be suitably staffed with security guards

8 Landlords need to ensure that residents living above commercial premises are aware of risks and ensure that all fire alarms, smoke alarms and fire escapes are fully functional

9 Does your alarm company have the latest key holder information? If not call them now.

10 Does your business have an emergency business plan?

11 Petrol stations should avoid selling petrol in small containers.

12 In the event of an emergency call 999

If you have any information about offenders in the disorder in Reading or Oxford please contact Thames Valley Police on 0845 8 505 505.

Alternatively, if you do not want to speak to police, or leave your name, please contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Thames Valley police have also set up separate twitter accounts for Oxford, Reading, Aylesbury, Slough, Milton Keynes and Wycombe. Click here to see your local town.