Police have arrested a 14-year-old they say is behind several unprovoked attacks on vulnerable people in Hawke's Bay.
In one attack, just last week, a victim was left bleeding with injuries to his head and face.
Senior Sergeant Craig Vining said in a statement Hastings Police, with the support of local schools, have identified and arrested a young teen believed to have been a main instigator in the string of recent assaults in the CBD.
The 14-year-old has been charged in relation to three separate assaults, including last week’s incident. The teen is due to appear in Hastings Youth Court on Thursday.
Several 12- and 13-year-olds have also been identified as having been involved in the recent assaults and will be referred to Youth Aid.
Snr Sgt Vining said as the school holidays approach, young people found demonstrating anti-social behaviour can expect to be stopped and spoken to by police.
"If we identify serious offences have been committed by youths, we will not hesitate to take action including the arrest and charging of offenders," he said.
"Police are particularly concerned about the level of violence inflicted in these incidents and the 'pack mentality' of multiple persons assaulting one person."
Snr Sgt Vining said while they know what drives this offending is a complex issue Police can't solve alone, they continue to focus on prevention and working with partner agencies.
"Where appropriate, young people will be taken home and their caregivers spoken to about their child's whereabouts and who they are with," Snr Sgt Vining said.
"We need parents and guardians to be aware of what their children are doing and to take wider responsibility."
Police encourage the community to report incidents of violence and for parents or families of those involved to reach out to police to work through possible solutions.