An enhanced stop and search power was enforced for 15 hours between last night and today (October 31 and November 1) in Worthing.
Police said it was in response to recent anti-social behaviour and violence involving and affecting youths in the area and allowed officers to target those on the streets for criminal purposes.
Chief Inspector Sarah Leadbeatter of Adur and Worthing said: “The order, an enhanced stop and search order without grounds, was in place to ensure young people were able to go out and enjoy themselves and feel reassured that we could deploy resources quickly if a problem arised.
“Our resources were able to disrupt groups of young people in the Worthing area and we arrested eight boys, all aged between 12 and 14, for a total of 20 offences including trespassing, criminal damage and harassment.
“The decision to implement the short-term order was not taken lightly but shows the seriousness of our response to the violence involving and affecting young people in the community.
“Our close working partnership with other agencies will remain and we will continue to tackle this behaviour, which is totally unacceptable.
“We are appealing to the public to continue to report matters of anti-social behaviour to us and there are many ways you can do this. You can report it to us online or by calling 101 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers or Fearless.”
The stop and search powers were granted under section 60 and 60aa of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.