It comes after police finally responded to the rise in trouble by issuing a dispersal order on the area starting on Thursday evening.
The order means that anyone who refuses to leave the area when told to do so by police – or who return to it – can be arrested.
Neighbourhood teams from Fratton, Baffins and Nelson were in attendance in the Commercial Road area yesterday evening to assist police officers in tackling the anti-social behaviour.
Portsmouth police said: “We appreciate it is half term, and children will be out, we are not the fun police, but be mindful of where your children are and what they are doing if they are around the city centre.”
Staff at the Premier newsagents said that almost every night for months, a group of children – some as young as eight – have been causing trouble, abusing workers, shoplifting, and throwing furniture around.
A supervisor at Greggs says that they have to shut the doors at around 4.30pm each day to try and stop the children from coming in.
She said: “The kids are running riot down there. It’s pretty much most nights.
“They’re coming in, chucking things, they’re stealing, they’re yelling abuse.”
Officers use Section 34 dispersal orders as a tool to help disrupt and deal with anti-social behaviour.
Inspector Peter Smith from Portsmouth Central said: “We have issued this dispersal order in response to recent reports of anti-social behaviour in the Commercial Road area.
“These reports relate largely to drug use, shoplifting and harassment of both members of the public and shop staff.
“Although we are aware the incidents are caused by a very small minority of our young population, we know that they are now impacting on people’s day-to-day lives, having spoken to people in the area, and this is simply not acceptable.
“We have been conducting extra patrols along Commercial Road and are now making use of this Section 34 Dispersal Order, which gives our officers the power to order a person to leave the area for a 48 period with no return.
“Refusal to comply with the order is a criminal offence and we have already made use of this order in Commercial Road.
“We’d like to reassure members of the public, shop owners and staff that we will continue to patrol the area and enforce the order while it is in place.
“We will then look at the situation and can extend the order if necessary.”