Two men have been charged and a further 11 people were stopped and search in the Thornhill and Weston areas last night following a section 60 authorisation.
A section 60 authority gives police the powers to stop and search anyone within a designated location for a certain amount of time where serious violence has just occurred, or police believe is about occur, to prevent crime and apprehend those carrying weapons.
A section 60 authorisation was granted on January 21 to officers after reports and concerns raised by the community that two groups maybe targeting each other with weapons in the eastern area of Southampton.
This is not the first time we have implemented a section 60 in this area of Southampton. Last September we received similar reports of violent disorder and our response was using enhanced stop and search powers then as well.
The authorisation was in place in the Thornhill and Weston areas between 8pm yesterday (Tuesday 21 January) and today 8am today (Wednesday 22 January).
As a result, 13 people were stopped and searched and from that two men were arrested and charged.
• Samuel Richard Stewart, aged 25, of no fixed address has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon.
• Andrew Philip Watson, aged 31, of Hazel Road, Southampton has been charged with possession of a bladed article in a public place.
We know, and you know, this is not the first time this concern about people fighting with weapons has been raised with us. Last September we also put a section 60 in place after receiving similar reports.
Publicity around this operation allows us to tell you that we are listening to them and taking action – and it also prevents further incidents of violent disorder from occurring.
We understand that there may be ongoing community tensions due to the recent death of a child. Our response to the death of James Laurie was to carry out a thorough investigation. We have since charged a boy with his murder and we should all now allow that court process to continue unhindered.
Section 60 is an emergency power and it is put in place quickly to effectively diffuse violence we believe is about it occur, and we implemented last night it based on the information we received yesterday.
The feedback we have seen has mostly been positive, and we would like to say thank you for the support you have shown us.
You are our eyes and ears out there so if you see or hear anything suspicious, or if you have any concerns or issues, please do get in touch. We must continue to work together to tackle serious violence. Information we receive from the community allows us take these steps and prevent crime.
We are currently reviewing whether we put another order place and we will update you with our decision.