Essex police given increased stop and search power ahead of planned protest today
Additional stop and search powers have been granted to police for a planned march of the English Defence League (EDL) scheduled in Colchester today.
Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 has been granted, giving police officers the power to search people for dangerous objects and weapons without the need to have a reasonable suspicion.
It will be in force today from 8am-6pm.
Chief Superintendant Williams said: “We have been liaising with the EDL about the march and they have worked with us in order to allow a peaceful protest to be carried out.
“However recent marches elsewhere in the country have involved counter-protests involving people who have not spoken to the police or made clear their intentions.
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“We intend to use this Section 60 power to search any protestors we believe are intent on causing trouble or disorder, confiscate any weapons or other dangerous items, and keep everyone safe.
“The powers also allow us to enforce the removal of any disguise, such as a mask, being worn by a person.
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“We have a robust policing plan in place in order to minimise the opportunity for contact between the rival protestors and the use of the Section 60 power will ensure that we can carry out our policing operation as effectively as possible.
“There will be a significant police presence in the town to manage the march and any protestors involved and we would advise members of the public intending to visit Colchester on Saturday to carry on as normal.”