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Saddened by Nevill Bonfire Night

On 21 Oct 2012 at 2:19pm Concerned resident wrote:
I have been a resident of Lewes for over two decades and have always thoroughly enjoyed both Nevill Bonfire night and Guy Fawkes Night. Unfortunately however, in recent years, I have begun to notice a definite decline in the sort of behaviour prevalent at these events.
Last night, for the first time, I was put off going up to watch the firework display by the drunken, anti-social behaviour I saw rife on the streets. I was forced to disappoint my young niece and nephew (who were very keen to watch the display) because I did not want to expose them to such behaviour. Furthermore, I was shocked to see this morning that one of the local shops on the Nevill estate had been vandalised in the night, for the first time in 24 years as the proprietor informed me.
I would be very sorry indeed to have such a beloved Lewes institution ruined again by the sort of behaviour I saw last night
On 21 Oct 2012 at 4:10pm bubblegran wrote:
Couldn't agree more where did all those kids come from, many of them, particularly the girls, looked far too young to be drinking and most weren't watching the parade at all, such a shame when so much effort is put into staging the night.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 4:31pm Ed Can Do wrote:
This is what happens when the police are too busy looking out for bonfire boys dropping rookies to bother with a bit of basic crowd control and enforcing far more useful laws like the ones against underage drinking and street drinking.

One does wonder what the parents of these kids thought they were doing though. My parents would have murdered me if I came home drunk at that age.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 5:10pm Rob Roy wrote:
Last night at 11, gang of fifteen youths, the worse for drink trying to rip down a fence, probably to use bits as clubs. One man tries to prevent this and is quickly pulled to the ground and kicked and punched with his shirt torn off him reels away a bloody mess.
Police called and eventually arrive, one youth gets in their vehicle complaining of assault. Man who tried to prevent criminal activity is then invited by police to apologise to the youth for striking him. As one journalist is famous for saying "You couldn't make it up"!
On 21 Oct 2012 at 5:21pm Concerned wrote:
Where exactly did this happen RR??
On 21 Oct 2012 at 5:38pm Pete wrote:
Blimey, I didn't realise that the shop(s) had been broken into and/or vandalised ! I was standing up by the St. Mary's Hall and everything seemed to be in control, although there were a few drunken youths around after 10:30 ish, I didn't see any rough stuff going on. I think the NJBS can tend to attract a lot of "out of towners" ? Would like to know more from Rob Roy....
On 21 Oct 2012 at 5:39pm blame the exam boards wrote:
There is an important maths exam for GCSE students on 6th November so they moved their bonfire night shenanigans forward to neville, hence the increased number of kids doing what kids do.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 5:44pm Harry Mount wrote:
I was also left with a bad feeling from last night. I love the Nev and look forward to it, having enjoyed it for the last 9 years. But a long-time marching friend told me that there were boys throwing stones at the Bradley Wiggins effigy when it was on the way up to the firesite - so quite early on in the evening to be that out of order - and damaged his nose. Then just after we arrived at the fire (9:20), I witnessed one girl hit another girl over the head with a glass bottle. The semi-concussed girl streaming with blood was attended to by the St Johns Ambulance (...a big 'thank you' to those good and noble people). I saw no police about and I looked for them - and it took a good 10 minutes for them to arrive, not that there was anyone to apprehend by then. And towards the end of the evening I saw another few scraps near the shop, one with a lad grabbing one of the steel netting fence posts and brandishing it at someone - some smugglers in the last march took it off him.
I didn't see many police at all, Ed - I don't think they were distracted looking for rookies, they had presumably just knocked off by then.
I don't want a heavy, blanket police presence - or a sterile municipal fireworks display - but there were quite a few pissed teens about getting quite aggressive and nobody to stop them.
None of which is anything to do with Bonfire as such - these things can and do occur at any large public gathering where alcohol is involved, and sadly the level of violence is a societal issue. In previous years, it's usually it's just some overindulged unfortunate sitting in a pool of vomit or sobbing because their boyfriend has dumped them - all part of growing up - but this was on my doorstep and felt quite nasty and I didn't enjoy it much.
By the way, Des's door was apparently smashed by a drunk headbutting it - presumably frustrated at not being able to buy his half-price newspapers.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 6:14pm PC Plod wrote:
When I left st Mary's at about 11 there was a group of about 20 kids milling around at the bottom of Christie road. There was a police land river parked across the road with 2 knuckle heads inside keeping an eye. Must have been too much for them to ask the kids to disperse. Never mind the noise and nuisance to the residents, eh boys.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 6:20pm Rob Roy wrote:
This was at the top of Mildmay Road. After the police left one thug returned to smash a traffic cone against a front door twice, badly damaging it. Several people were in severe state of stress as a result.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 6:27pm I repeat wrote:
Another nail in the bonfire coffin. Mark my words
On 21 Oct 2012 at 6:44pm facts wrote:
Neville bonfire is not a police event it is an event put on by the bonfire society and it is not the job of the police to be private stewards for such events at the expense of the tax payer. Time and time again i see people blaming the police. Where are all the parents of these feral degenerates. Or is it now also the job of the police to raise these horrible creatures. I know the police are far from perfect just look at Hilsborough, de menezes tomlinson Etc but i get fed up of people who think it is easier to blame the police rather than the parents and friends of these cretins.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 6:56pm wrote:
On 21 Oct 2012 at 8:27pm C_Page wrote:
Totally agree. If the bonfire want such events they should take responsibility for the safety of both participants and crowd. The police do a mopping up job dealing with drunks, anti social behaviour and assaults. They should pay towards the cost of policing it also as when officers are tied up dealing with bonfire trouble other matters are stacked up until officers are free. I doubt many were done for throwing Rookies as I didn't hear many going off thank god, more eyes saved.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 8:36pm Me wrote:
Err... the societies USED to 'police' the events if I recall. Then the police took over with their barriers, bans, controlling this and controlling that.
Allegedly to prevent another Hillsborough type incident.
Don't blame NJBS or the police -- blame the PARENTS of these little darlings.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 9:35pm popey wrote:
c page dont talk about stuff you no sod all about. of course drunken behavior is the responabilty of the police same as any nite. the problem is that the kids of today have no respect for anyone or anything. weldone njbs fab nite. great fireworks
On 21 Oct 2012 at 10:44pm C_Page wrote:
Popey, if you took time to actually read my post where did I say it wasn't the responsibility of the police to deal with anti social behaviour , assaults? Just why impose extra preassure on alredy stretched recourses? A Normal night in Lewes require a modest response from the police. They reacted last night and several arrests were made. The FACT Bonfire are parading increase the preassure on them. Is this acceptable in this recession ? Those incidents would not have taken place without the draw of the bonfire parade. FACT. The societies should pay towards if not all of policing costs, it's after all their desire parade which invites such disorder into Lewes. We the tax payers are funding this supporters or not. Having read many of the posts on this forum including members of societies happy to throw Rookies into the crowd and unconcerned about the injuries caused as a result of that causes me to wonder who is acting irresponsibly ?
On 21 Oct 2012 at 11:02pm Peter wrote:
Police not there when you need them and then turn up late and arrest the wrong people - never.....
On 21 Oct 2012 at 11:05pm Peter wrote:
Does seem to get rougher every year - police I saw didn't look happy at all.
On 21 Oct 2012 at 11:57pm Local wrote:
They were probably unhappy at the limited number of food outlets. All they seem to do these days is eat...
On 22 Oct 2012 at 7:54am ThisandThat wrote:
There were teenagers hanging around the junction of East Way and Mount Harry after the fireworks. They were being very noisy, causing mayhem, urinating everywhere and sliding the grit bin down the hill! No police anywhere. Its these young kids that ruin it for everyone else. The general police attendance was extremely poor. It is just a shame
On 22 Oct 2012 at 8:19am lewestrousers wrote:
These are tough times and the fact is the police knock off early these days, cuts in resources and cuts in numbers mean they can't do what they did.
And locally, those that voted, voted for these cuts. Those that argue they didn't, don't understand nye bevans remark "We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down." Oh but we get to vote for a commissioner now, hurrah for the selfservatives.
There is a community responsibility at all levels in an event like this, the police, local residents, the organisations setting up the event.
Whilst bonfire societies would prefer it if it was only a local event for local people, everyone needs to get with the 21st century and realise that smart phones and the internet mean very little is local anymore and events need to be stewarded and policed accordingly.
There are already trouble spots throughout lewes in terms of night time and weekend teenage gatherings, from time to time shifted about the town by a police presence, lets see what goes off on the normally quiet weekday 5th.

On 22 Oct 2012 at 8:26am Pete wrote:
Must admit that I only saw 2 police officers on foot, and that was around 11 ish, and they went walking up to the bonfire site via the lane next to Sheepfair. As for responsibility, well, that's for all of us isn't it ? Parents should be questionning where their kids are, and I suspect that the ones causing most of the trouble were young adults (18-21) rather than youths (14-17). The NJBS should (and probably do) liaise with the local police to monitor certain "key" areas, and use of the police for this activity will probably cost the NJBS. The rest of us should keep a keen eye on activities and report disturbances immediately to the police and/or NJBS rep. It's our town, and our bonfires, let's pull together guys.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 10:36am Alternative wrote:
I feel there is a more deep lying social issue behind the behaviour of these scum bags. For a long time nevill has been seen as an occasion for underage drinking however this has seemed to have escalated in recent years. I believe the police should of taken a harder stance on underage drinking as there was countless underage kids drinking on the streets and firesite in front of the police!! Lewes also seems to have a growing drug issue in that age group which is a further cause for a lot of the problems locally. Is it not time for the community to come together with the police and try and address this issue? Maybe it might just do something to help lewes in general and your lives, further to that make Nevill bonfire the night it use to be!
On 22 Oct 2012 at 11:28am Ed Can Do wrote:
I'm sure the bonfire societies would be a lot happier to help fund the policing of the event if they weren't so vilified by a string of senior police officers. Constant threats of arrest aren't exactly going to encourage anyone to put their hands in their pockets and pay for extra police are they?

But the responsibility has to lie with the parents who let their little scummers go out unsupervised then after they come back hammered and covered in cuts and bruises, don't do anything to discipline them. If nothing else, one wonders where the kids get the money for their booze and drugs, I can barely afford either these days.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 11:52am Marmaduke wrote:
I saw a lot of drunken people who looked too young to drink, but credit to the police I also heard someone say they'd seen police checking for ID and confiscating alcohol. I think think bulk of the drinking happened before people got close to the Nevill.
I love bonfire but every year it seems to get spoilt for a lot of people by some sort of drunkeness - always people too young or too stupid to understand what bonfire is about, causing trouble totally disproportionate to their number. This year at Nevill I saw drunk people - mostly young teens - urinating against houses in De Montfort Road, shouting and swearing, pushing past children to get to the front, forcing their way through crowds so people were pushed onto the road once it had re-opened.
Does anyone have any sensible suggestions for how they can be controlled before they take it too far? The parents aren't doing it, no-one wants a heavier police prescence and it's not fair not he societies to have to do it...
On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:01pm Guy wrote:
How all this is allowed to go on year after year is nothing short of scandalous. Its time to end it all NOW. Bonfire is dying on its feet anyway so speeding things up by a few years wont matter
On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:21pm Ratty wrote:
With the number of people around and the widespread availabilty of digital cameras & phones, couldn't the vandalism and criminal activity (such as the assault alleged in Rob Roy's post) be recorded by a mass of people and then either sent to the police or set up on a website that names & shames the little darlings.
If enough people start recording the evidence, the thugs might get the message they are in the minority. And if they assault anyone taking pictures, there will be hard evidence against them.

On 22 Oct 2012 at 2:39pm Passing by wrote:
From what I saw I doubt these 'children' would feel shamed by their actions. The timing of the scrap on the fields could have been the same group of 'animals' I saw attack two bonfire girls who had a child with them. I have since spoken with other people and some of the people who got arrested were not even from lewes.
As mentioned the police presence was not high enough for the event but then why should a juvenile bonfire need such a high presence of police. Such a small event put on for youngsters should just be policed by the societies and members of the public.
It is the members of the public of have shamed nevill bonfire. All bonfire people acted well mannered and all in high spirits
On 22 Oct 2012 at 3:42pm Musher wrote:
@Guy, Lewes bonfire societies have more members than ever before, in what way is it "dying on it's feet"?
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:26pm Enoch wrote:
Well said Musher! See you soon. I cannot see why bonfire is to blame because a load of kids come along to cause trouble and get drunk. It is our dysfunctional society that is to blame - not a Bonfire Society who are trying to get the kids doing something constructive with their time and encouraging a feeling of community spirit. Do the pubs, clubs and kebab takeaways pay for policing outside their establishments? You know - its their fault surely?
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:39pm Ed Can Do wrote:
People I know who went to Neville report seeing hordes of drunken kiddies getting off buses from Brighton and Uckfield/Ringmer/Tunbridge Wells. Clearly, as ever, the answer if to restrict access to the town to people who don't live here. Trickier on Neville than on the 5th and there's no need to close the whole town off for it but again, Neville is accessed from no more than two main roads (Two directions on one main road really) so why could the police not have set up a roadblock and checkpoint and just turned away or arrested drunk people? You'd need a few officers manning the points and a steady shuttle bus to run the drunken oiks to the nick and the whole thing would have been a much more pleasant experience all round.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 4:45pm 1555/1605 wrote:
Enoch, I totally agree. I have witnessed first hand what some of the children can do and achieve when they are given the chance and support. There were many children from surprisingly young up through teenagers who helped with the preparations and particpated in the event with pride. What a shame some of the troublesome attendees couldn't stand there and say what a great night that I helped to make a success.
On 22 Oct 2012 at 5:27pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Sadly, drunken teens running amok on the Nevill is not confined to NJBS night or the 5th. I witnessed 2 such occasions last year and gather that there have been further incidents this year.
And police ARE responsible for dealing with drunkenness, crime and disorder in the streets. Sadly, they often seem unwilling or unable to use those powers. Lasy year, when my neighbour tried to stop kids damaging cars, he was asaulted for his trouble and still the police didn't see fit to attend.
As far as the cost of policing events like bonfire goes, the cost is borne by the public purse in the same way as it is for political demonstrations or other events such as Pride, Jack in the Green, or football matches, where clubs only pay for the police deployed inside football grounds.
On 16 Oct 2015 at 4:44pm trooper wrote:
We have a Police and Crime Commissioner now it would be ( big office lots of staff and costs a fortune) interesting to read her comments on the Forum postings. Hell will freeze over before that happens.

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