Second dispersal order in place after mass brawl in Liverpool

Police in Liverpool have increased patrols and imposed a second dispersal order on the city’s waterfront after a mass brawl involving up to 100 youths over the weekend.

Two teenage boys were stabbed in the buttocks in the fight, which broke out in Liverpool’s Keel Wharf at 9.15pm on Friday. The pair were treated in Alder Hey children’s hospital and have since been discharged.

The measure comes after a weekend-long dispersal order was introduced on Friday, following a spate of violent scenes in the city docks. There were reports of youths jumping off the bridge at Mariners Wharf, dragging people off paddleboards and throwing nitrous oxide canisters at dock security.

Insp Charlotte Irlam of Merseyside police said: “We simply will not tolerate people visiting the Albert Dock to enjoy the sunshine and facilities being subjected to violence, intimidation and fear.”

Under the section 34 legislation, officers and police community support officers have the power to move people on for 48 hours, if they are suspected of causing crime or antisocial behaviour.

The dispersal order began at 7pm on Sunday and remains in place until 7pm on Tuesday 27 July.

The mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, tweeted on Sunday: “How heartbreaking to see this senseless violence. There have been a few complaints about dispersal orders and heavy police presence this weekend – but Merseyside police must do what’s necessary to keep young people safe.”

Insp Irlam said the dispersal order was not designed to discourage young people from gathering and swimming with their friends at the dock, particularly after such a “challenging time” during lockdown.

“It is simply about making sure the minority who come intent on behaving antisocially can be moved out of the area, to enable people of all ages to feel safer and enjoy everything the waterfront has to offer,” she said.

She added that Merseyside police were working with its partners to support young people who may be at risk of becoming involved in antisocial behaviour or violence, which experts have warned could “erupt” over the summer as mental health problems combine with months out of education.

The row over the management of Liverpool’s public space comes after the city was stripped of its Unesco World Heritage status last week. According to a Unesco committee, developments, including the planned new Everton FC stadium, threatened the value of the site.

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