POLICE have been given special powers to crack down on crime following an incident of "serious violence".

Officers in Southampton will be able to stop and search anyone in the Mansel Park, Green Park, St James Park, Shirley High Street, Warren Avenue, Coxford Road, Olive Road, Regents Park, Lords Hill District Centre and surrounding areas tonight.

This emergency power is being used after a gang of up to six people on mopeds "stabbed a 31-year-old man".

A 22-year-old woman was also injured during the attack on Tangmere Drive last night.

The 31-year-old man was rushed to Southampton General Hospital with serious yet not life-threatening injuries.

Police are treating the incident as racially aggravated as it was reported the group verbally abused the man before attacking him.

A 16-year-old boy from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of robbery, GBH and possession of Class B drugs. He remains in police custody at this time.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information as to who may have been involved is urged to call police on 101 quoting 44200391172.

Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.

While the investigation is ongoing, officers on the ground have been authorised to use Section 60 powers. 

Section 60 can be used in areas where either serious violence has occurred or police believe serious violence is about to occur and gives officers the power to stop and search anyone in a designated location, without the restrictions of normal stop and search.  

Officers "will be looking to apprehend those looking to cause serious violence and carrying offensive weapons or bladed articles". 

Police will be able to stop and search anyone in the area between 6pm tonight and 5.59pm tomorrow (October 10).

The power can be reviewed at that time and extended if appropriate. 

Police Sergeant Rob Morant said “Section 60 is an emergency tactic. We do not suggest that it is a long term solution to weapon-related crime, however, following the serious assault that took place last night and concerns raised by the community, this is our response.

“We know that some will think this inhibits our ability to catch offenders, however it is important communities are informed we are taking action. It is also helps prevent another incident of serious violence occurring. Tackling offenders is important to us, but we want them to prevent them from offending to begin with.

“We are also telling you because it is a national Best Use of Stop and Search guidance to inform you as to why you may see an increased police presence and that we are using enhanced powers.”