Section 60 order issued across Battersea

Wandsworth Police has issued a Section 60 order in Battersea, running from 2.50pm yesterday afternoon until Friday 21 January 2022. 

The order, which can only be put in a place by a senior police officer, was first authorised by Inspector Kenny after an announcement on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. 

When the initial tweet was posted, a number of users on Twitter tried to seek out the context for the order, which is often, but not always, authorised in response to a publicised act of serious violence. 

Nearly 24 hours after the order was authorised, Wandsworth Police revealed on Wednesday afternoon that the order was authorised due to intelligence received around potential violence involving school children, and that as of this afternoon, there have been no further reports of any incident of note.

However, at 4.35pm today the order was extended for three more days, until Friday 21 January at 3.30pm due to ongoing issues. 

The order reframes itself in boundaries that stretch between Battersea Park and Clapham Common. 

A Section 60 order is a power outlined in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which allows police in a stipulated area to ‘stop and search’ individuals without reasonable grounds. 

The order, which is enacted when there is a suspicion of serious violence or violent weapons within the specified area, has been criticised in its usage to due the impact that it has on those who are subjected to unprompted searches, as well some debate around the tactic’s efficacy. 

Additionally, Section 60 orders have been found to disproportionally impact the lives of Black people, and in London, Black people are 11 times more likely than white people to be stopped for under the order.

The Criminal Justice Alliance, a coalition of 170 organisations working across the criminal justice system in the UK, launched a super-complaint in May 2021 on the harms that Section 60 orders has on those policed communities, and their impact on public trust in the police force. 

In spite of controversy around their authorisation, Section 60 orders have risen sharply over the last six years. 

In 2019/20, there were 18,081 authorised searches in the UK, compared to 622 in 2016/17. 

CJA highlights government data which shows a mere 4% arrest rate from the searches undertaken in 2019/20. 

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