OFFICERS have been allowed to stop and search people without having “reasonable grounds” after Section 60 authority came into effect for 24 hours.

Essex Police officers have been authorised to use stop and search powers under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in Harwich and Dovercourt.

The Act is an extension of the stop and search powers officers already use, but it means that officers do not need to have reasonable grounds to stop someone.

The Section 60 authority has started running at 12pm today and will conclude at 12pm tomorrow. (Wednesday, May 13)

Inspector Martin Richards, of Tendring's Community Policing Team, said: "Unfortunately, we have seen a number of violent offences involving weapons across Harwich and Dovercourt over the past week.

"I want to reassure residents that my officers will be patrolling the area and you can speak to them if you have any further concerns.

"I know this is a tight-knit community, so if you have any information about someone who may be carrying a weapon, please let us know by talking to an officer in person, reporting it online, or calling 101.

“Always call 999 in an emergency."

The Section 60 will cover Parkeston Quay to the north, including Garland Road and Station Road.

To the east it will cover Main Road where it meets Laurel Avenue, before following it down to where Main Road joins Fronks Road and Marine Parade in the south.

To the west it will cover Main Road up to and including Old Harwich and the Quay.