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Emergency police powers extended after vigil brawl and knife finds

After trouble in Sutton Coldfield – including a brawl at a vigil for a teenager who died in a road crash this week – police have been given additional powers to quell further disorder.

A dispersal order, allowing police to exclude individuals from an area if they suspect they care causing trouble or crime.

And s60 powers – allowing officers to stop and search people for weapons without needing to have reasonable grounds or needing to explain why – are in place in Sutton on Thursday (September 30), as police continue to clamp down on troublemakers.

It follows violence at a vigil in Monmouth Drive on Tuesday (September 28) night where a gang with ‘bricks, bats and sticks’ were involved in a fight, which led to a teen and a man being treated for injuries in hospital.

A teenager was also stopped with a hammer in his bag the following night.

Read more : Stop and search order issued amid knife incidents and gang brawl

A group had gathered to pay their respects to Demari Thomas, aged 16, who died in a road traffic crash on the road, at the junction with Darnick Road, on Monday (September 27), shortly before 8pm. Violence flared the following night at around 6.40pm, with police confirming it happened ‘at a vigil’.

An eyewitness, who asked not to be named, told BirminghamLive: “I was driving home from work on Tuesday and I just saw a large gang. There must have been about 30 of them there.

“There was lots of screaming and crying. They did have weapons. A fight broke out and they were fighting with bricks and sticks. It didn’t look like it was planned.

“This was just where the flowers were. I had to turn the car around and went another way home.”

A fight by a gang armed with weapons including ‘bricks, bats and sticks’ in Monmouth Drive in Sutton Coldfield close to where a teen died a day earlier led to two people requiring hospital treatment

Another witness said they saw a ‘large group of lads and a few girls walking on the road’. They said they did not see any fighting and said they saw the flowers and balloons on the other side of the road further down Monmouth Drive.

West Midlands Police confirmed it was called to the scene and is investigating the incident.

A spokesman for the force said: “We got a call at 6.40pm on Tuesday (September 28) by a motorist reporting a disorder in Monmouth Drive, Sutton Coldfield, with several males fighting.

“There were reports of some carrying sticks, bats and bricks.

“We sent officers to the scene. There was no sign of trouble and it’s believed those involved had made off.”

Read more : Brawl with ‘sticks, bats & bricks’ breaks out near fatal smash spot

The statement continued: “Officers remained in the area to ensure there was no more disorder and to reassure residents.

“It’s understood a teenager was assaulted during the incident and a man later reported also being set upon by a group. He suffered a head injury.

“Both have since been discharged from hospital and we are arranging to take statements in order to understand what happened and further our investigations.”

Police s60 stop-and-search powers are in place in Sutton Coldfield to quell recent disorder and weapon incidents
Police s60 stop-and-search powers are in place in Sutton Coldfield to quell recent disorder and weapon incidents

It was the latest in a series of troubling incidents in the town, which saw a teenager’s jaw broken in three places by an attacker ‘with a knuckle duster’.

And a teen arrested with a zombie knife and drugs on the same day a police officer was filmed kneeing another teenager during a stop-and-search.

On Wednesday night West Midlands Police confirmed it had introduced the s60 stop-and search powers until 11pm on Wednesday. Arrests were made as a result of the powers including one teenager with a hammer in his bag,

Read more : ‘Son, you are everything to me’ – tributes to teen killed in crash

And those powers have now been extended until 11pm on Thursday (September 30). Four police vehicles and a number of officers were seen in the town centre’s Parade shortly after 4pm,

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “In the last few weeks we’ve stopped a number of young people with knives.

“There have also been some incidents of disorder, including one at a vigil on Tuesday. We’re concerned about this, and have a plan in place to stop it.

“Our plans include a Section 60 which will be in place again until 11pm tonight (30 September).

“Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows us to stop and search people without suspicion. It’s different from ordinary ‘stop and search’ because it means we don’t need to have ‘reasonable grounds’ in order to carry out a stop and search.

Three police vans and a police car were stationed in the centre of Sutton Coldfield by Waterstones as emergency powers to crack down on trouble involving weapons continues
Three police vans and a police car were stationed in the centre of Sutton Coldfield by Waterstones as emergency powers to crack down on trouble involving weapons continues

The statement continued: “There’s a dispersal order in place as well which will allow us to move people on. Both orders cover the area highlighted in this map.

“We had the same powers in place last night and an 18-year-old man was arrested after we found a hammer in his bag.

“If you have information about crime in Sutton Coldfield, please let us know so that we can take action. Our priority is to protect you and prevent crime in Sutton Coldfield.

“The easiest way to get in touch is via Live Chat on our website, or call 101 anytime. To remain 100% anonymous, tell Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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