Police officers in Wellingborough have been granted special powers to stop and search anyone in the town after they were informed about a heightened risk of violence this evening (Friday, November 19).
The Northants force has received intelligence to suggest an increased risk of public disorder in the town centre tonight.
So, from 4pm until 7am tomorrow they have been given special powers to stop and search any pedestrian or vehicle without any cause for suspicion to carry out searches for offensive weapons.
These additional powers have been granted under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which is only rarely used in situations where it is deemed necessary to avert the risk of serious disorder. Permission must be granted by an officer at the rank of Assistant Chief Constable or above. Other forces have used it in cases where they suspect there may be gang-related incidents, or large-scale demonstrations involving weapons.
It is a distinct power that allows officers to conduct searches without ‘reasonable suspicion' but only when a chief officers believes strict criteria have been met and it is needed to prevent serious violence.
The order covers the Wellingborough town centre area and has been put in place in response to information that there is an increased risk of violence in Wellingborough Town Centre tonight.
Officers from the Wellingborough Neighbourhood Policing Team will be taking part in extra patrols in the area as part of the Operation Sceptre week of action, which aims to tackle and prevent knife crime.
This activity will still take place as planned, and they will be joined by their detective colleagues who have also been assigned to the operation aimed at taking weapons and knife crime perpetrators off the streets
Wellingborough Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector Nathan Murray said: “Knife crime is a matter of priority for the Force, which is why we have launched our countywide campaign to tackle and prevent this type of offending.
“Applying for a Section 60 order is not something we do lightly but we have received information that there is an increased risk of public disorder within the night-time economy tonight, and these extra police powers will help us provide a safer environment for all visitors and make life difficult for those intent on ruining others enjoyment.”
If you have any information or concerns about knife crime in your community, you can report non-emergency crime to 101, visit www.northants.police.uk/RO or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency always call 999.