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Police chief comments on youth fights, unsanctioned gatherings

Says strategies are in the works to limit future incidents
Waterloo Regional Police crest
Waterloo Regional Police crest

For weeks, a series of fights involving youths and large unsanctioned gatherings have gripped the region. 

In the last week alone, two incidents of youth fights were reported by police. 

While appearing on the Mike Farwell Show, acting chief of regional police John Goodman, said police believe peer pressure and ongoing grievances are key reasons for the uptick. 

"The underlying theme of these fights seems to be tension for unresolved or ongoing disputes between youth and then you get other students hanging around and encouraging it and it gets big." 

Goodman said regional police are working with local school boards to create strategies for dealing with the issue by working with school boards. 

"We're trying to put some things in place to be more proactive in the areas these fights are taking place." 

He said police are actively putting officers in parking lots where fights are occurring, engaging with kids the best they can and talking with community groups to work with their young people. 

When it comes to charging these youths Goodman said police will decide based on the offence. 

"In the courts right now we have a really good program with diversion if we get the young person diverted because sometimes they're just going to make a mistake but, if it's serious in nature it's going to run the course."

Goodman also spoke on large unsanctioned street gatherings. 

Lauriers recent homecoming was topic of discussion which Goodman said went better than expected due to proper planning but added that  it's not something to pat themselves on the back about.

"Even though we didn't have the great big gatherings that everybody was anticipating, we still laid 11 criminal charges and there are still investigations ongoing in regards to assaults and sexual assaults." 

Goodman said for future homecomings and St. Patty's Day, celebrations preparations will remain the same.

He said police will look at what strategies worked and didn't work and will come up with another plan. 
 

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