POLICE have activated stop-and-search powers as part of a crackdown on crime and disorder ahead of tonight's Carabao Cup clash between Saints and Pompey.

Officers will be given the power to stop and search people across the Southampton, Fareham and Portsmouth areas if they "believe it necessary".

The power, authorised under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, can also be used by British Transport Police on trains.

Police say the order will be reviewed at 2am tomorrow morning.

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: "This is just a precautionary measure so that it is in place if we need it.

"Hopefully it will not be necessary."

The news comes just hours after police announced they had activated a Dispersal Order for Southampton, Portsmouth and an area of Fareham ahead of tonight's game.

Officers have the option of using the powers to disperse large groups of people or individuals and can order them to leave an area for up to 48 hours.

Daily Echo:

A Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1984 has also been put in place for these same areas.

If necessary, officers can use this to ask people to remove any face coverings.

Refusal to comply with the orders is a criminal offence.

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: "We recognise the majority of people will just want to enjoy the game so please listen to any instructions our police officers give you.

"Hopefully we will not need to use these measures, however they are there if we need them to ensure the safety of the public, which is our main priority."

As previously reported in the Echo, a number of Saints fans were yesterday targeted with warning letters in a police crackdown on violence and disorder ahead of the cup tie at Fratton Park tonight.

Police officers hand-delivered letters to a targeted group of Saints supporters warning them that those who engage in violence will be prosecuted.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said the letters, which are also being sent to a number of Portsmouth fans, were one of “many different measures” the force was taking as part of its policing operation for the match.

A huge number of specially-trained officers will be on duty at Fratton Park, while horses, helicopters and drones will also be used to help them prevent violence breaking out.

Assistant Chief Constable (AAC) Scott Chilton is leading the overall policing operation.

Asked about the possibility of trouble he said: “The rivalry is intense and although the two teams haven’t played each other for seven years there’s always the potential for disruption.

“We have been working with both clubs and other partners to devise a very detailed police operation which is designed to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The force earlier announced it would not implement the ‘bubble’ system used when the teams last met at Fratton Park eight years ago.

Daily Echo:

Saints fans with tickets to the match were forced to use designated coaches at one of three pick-up points.

They were dropped in a “sterile area”, which people were prevented from accessing unless they were one of the coaches, and escorted to Fratton Park.

The fans were then escorted back to the coach area and driven back to Southampton.