The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“POLICE were granted emergency stop-and-search powers following a spate of related stabbings and fears of “increased gang tensions” in north Westminster.
Officers reported four attacks over six days last week that they say are linked.
Two of the young men who received stab wounds were already known to the council’s gang units and all three refused to co-operate with police inquiries.
Westminster North MP Karen Buck said the figures highlighted the need to provide alternative bases for officers after the closure of Harrow Road police station.
She said: “The information we have received about a further upturn in serious youth violence makes the case even stronger.
“I am entirely happy with the proposal for a different kind of police presence, but a police presence there must be in the north-east and north-west of the borough.”
A controversial section 60 order was set up across Westminster, north of Oxford Street, over the weekend, giving police the right to search people and vehicles without needing grounds for “reasonable suspicion”. The additional powers were granted in response to what the Met described as “an increase in gang tensions”.
But Ms Buck said: “This is not going to be a solution, it is an emergency measure, but it is not going to be the way that you solve the problem if, and it is a big if, you have a resurgence of the problem we had two years ago.”
She added: “You are not going to have a section 60 over half of the borough and expect it to be managed and enforced for the next four or five months.”
In the six-day period between May 3 and May 9, three young men were stabbed and police were called to a fourth incident described as a “large fight involving weapons”.
Leader of the Westminster Labour group Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said: “These latest incidents involving young people show how it would be dangerous folly to close Harrow Road police station without opening a new police station in north Paddington to take its place. Residents in north Paddington are entitled to a full local police service, not the long-distance policing that is currently proposed by an increasingly out-of-touch and complacent mayor.”
A spokesman for Westminster police said: “Following an increase in gang tensions within the north of the borough towards the close of last week, provisions under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 were utilised as part of our planned police response.
“Additionally, a number of search warrants were executed at key addresses as a result of intelligence received and an extensive level of police resources were deployed across the borough as part of a cohesive pan-London effort in respect of recent gang-related incidents.”
Police said the section 60 order ended on Monday morning following “no gang-related incidents” over the weekend.”