Up to 100 teenagers surrounded police in a town centre before a mob attacked officers during an “appalling” disturbance.
Fireworks and bricks were launched and a community officer was punched in the face in Stanley, County Durham.
Police have since launched a text alerts service to inform parents of local disorder, urging them to “take responsibility” for their children. It is hoped they will be encouraged to collect teenagers from disturbances.
Officers were called out to reports of a “vulnerable female” at the bus station in the town on the night of 3 November. They were bombarded by the youths upon arrival, then set upon by about 20 hoodie-wearing youngsters in an attack captured on the officers’ body cams.
Sgt Dave Clarke said his officers had been forced to use pepper spray after tensions “escalated” when some teenagers had objected to being told what to do. “You had a group of six to 10 boys wanting to show off in front of their friends, and that developed into kicks, karate kicks, punching and people jumping around sparring,” he said. “After at least 10 warnings, the officers used the pepper spray.”
In the wake of the attack, the force launched its Be Informed text alert service, to which parents can opt-in to be told whenever there is disorder in the town.
Any parent who believes their child may be in the vicinity can go and collect them, police said.
Sgt Emma Kay, from Durham Constabulary, said: “Parents were asked to come and review the footage from the officers’ body cams that night and they all agreed the behaviour of the children was appalling.
“While there is a hardcore group of individuals involved in this incident, there are many more people stood on the sidelines, young people who are going to affect their life chances by continuing to engage in this type of behaviour. “We are asking for parents to step up to the plate, take responsibility for your children. “Do you know where they are, or are they going to bring trouble to your door?”