BRACKNELL’S top police chief has shone a light into how officers were able to crack down on youth violence in the borough earlier this month.

Police were given powers to ‘stop and search’ anyone in Crowthorne and Sandhurst following reports of pre-arranged fights between rival gangs in the area.

A number of arrests were made and discarded weapons were found in the southern-most part of Bracknell Forest before officers were handed the Section 60 orders.

READ MORE: Why police were given powers to stop and search in Sandhurst and Crowthorne

Over three nights from October 2 to October 4 officers used these powers to clamp down on the disorder.

More than one week on, the local police commander for Bracknell has said the extra powers resulted in a “massive downturn” in concerns Thames Valley Police had.

Speaking at a council meeting, Felicity Parker opened up about her team’s special operation.

She revealed:

  • TVP had been gathering intelligence about young people fighting two weekends before stop and search powers were granted
  • Officers had discovered young people with knives
  • The powers were given after police became worried another weekend of violence was coming
  • Police stopped and searched 96 young people over three nights
  • The schools and parents of those who were searched were informed by police

Ms Parker said: “Intelligence had been gathering for about two weekends that young people were gathering in the Sandhurst area and were fighting.

“We had been going there using our anti-social behaviour powers and we had located people with knives so that was a real serious concern from us.

READ MORE: Police extend stop and search powers in Sandhurst and Crowthorne

“We worked with schools, youth workers, members of the local authority and the CSP [Community Safety Partnership] to find out what the intelligence picture is around that.

“We were worried this was going to happen again for another weekend so we used our section 60 powers.

“[That means] we can go into an area and with the intelligence picture we had around people carrying knives it meant we could stop and search them without any further grounds.

“We went there the weekend before last and we stop searched over three nights 96 young people who fit those criteria.

“I’m really pleased since we have done we have seen a massive downturn in any of those concerns in the intelligence picture.”

What are police doing next?

Ms Parker encouraged councillors to make sure they are doing as much as they can in their communities to stop people caring knives in Bracknell Forest.

READ MORE: Drugs raid footage shows police storm town centre home

She added: “We do need to work out how we can influence people so in a domestic they aren’t going to the kitchen and grabbing a knife and that they aren’t taking them out into the streets.

“If a child is found with a knife in a school we can deal with that and try and resolve that problem over the long term for that young person.”

Ms Parker discussed her team’s work in Sandhurst and Crowthorne at a Bracknell Forest Council meeting on Tuesday, October 13.