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Police in Colchester use stop and search powers following reports of three men stabbed in ten minutes

PUBLISHED: 23:45 05 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:04 06 March 2016

Police on patrol. Stock image.

Police on patrol. Stock image.

Archant © 2007

Essex Police officers put in place additional powers to stop and search members of the public in Colchester town centre tonight following reports of three stabbings in just over 10 minutes and an alleged assault.

The measure was in force from 6.40pm today until 9.50pm and covered the area shown in a map released by police.

Officers were called to a car park off St Botolph’s Street at 6.17pm following reports that four men attacked another man. Four people were reported to be involved.

Just five minutes later, an 18-year-old man from London was found at St John’s Green with suspected stab wounds to his shoulder. It is thought he may have been attacked near Southway. He was taken to hospital for treatment and police subsequently arrested him on suspicion of possession of cannabis.

At 6.27pm a 21-year-old man from Barking was found on North Hill with stab wound to his leg. He is believed to have been attacked in the town’s High Street. He was taken to hospital for treatment and police arrested him on suspicion of violent disorder.

And at 6.31pm a 17-year-old man from London found near the Jumbo car park at Balkerne Gardens with four suspected stab wounds to his arm. He was also taken to hospital and police arrested him on suspicion of violent disorder, possession of cannabis and breach of bail conditions.

The use of section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was granted by temporary Deputy Chief Constable Julia Wortley following an application by Chief Inspector Simon Anslow.

The Act provides police officers with the power to search people for dangerous objects and weapons without the need to have a reasonable suspicion.

“The decision to put in place a Section 60 power is never taken lightly but we experienced a level of disorder in Colchester tonight that meant we had to take this option to ensure the safety of everyone in the town,” said Chief Inspector Anslow.

“This was very much a temporary measure while we carried out initial investigations into the stabbings to establish if they were all linked and the reasons behind them.

“We have already arrested three people on suspicion of committing offences including possession of cannabis, violent disorder and breach of bail conditions.”

All of the people arrested have been treated for their injuries, which all include puncture wounds which are not life-threatening or likely life-changing.

They are currently being questioned at Colchester and Chelmsford police stations.

A police spokesman said they were carrying out door-to-door enquiries and reviewing CCTV footage across the town.

Chief Inspector Anslow added: “This is a rare situation in any town and we are using the full range of legal tools at our disposal to keep the overwhelming majority of people, who are just out for a good time, safe while making sure those intent on causing trouble will be swiftly picked up and dealt with.

“There was a significant police presence in the town to manage the section 60 power and maintain order and we would advise members of the public intending to visit Colchester to carry on as normal.”

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