Section 60 stop and search order in Stevenage amid knife crime crackdown

Under a 24-hour Section 60 order, police in Stevenage can stop and search anybody without "reasonable grounds"

Under a 24-hour Section 60 order, police in Stevenage can stop and search anybody without "reasonable grounds" in a bid to tackle knife and violent crime - Credit: PA

Police have additional powers to stop and search people in Stevenage for a 24-hour period this weekend.

From 8pm on Friday, June 10, a Section 60 order is in place throughout Stevenage for 24 hours, which means police officers do not need "reasonable grounds" to carry out a stop and search.

The Section 60 order is due to end in the evening of Saturday, June 11.

Neighbourhood Inspector Pat McPeake said the measures are in force to discourage would-be criminals from carrying knives.

Pat McPeake said: "We are putting these measures in place to discourage anyone from taking part in violence or from carrying a knife in the town.

"Members of the public should be reassured that we will challenge anyone suspected of criminal activity.

"Anyone caught carrying a knife or suspected of violence will be arrested immediately and taken into custody."

Under normal circumstances, police must have "reasonable grounds" to stop and search a person.

But the order - made under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 - means that officers can now stop anybody within the Stevenage borough.

Although police have extra powers, people who are searched are entitled to a written statement to say that they have been stopped.

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Anybody who is stopped must be treated fairly under the Equalities Act 2010, and the stop cannot be made solely on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, or religion or faith.