Thu, 17 Oct 2019
One person has been arrested and two knives were discovered by police following fears of a 'stab night' at Newbury's Michaelmas Fair.
As reported by NewburyToday, schools had warned parents that youngsters may be attacking other groups at the funfair.
In response to the concerns, West Berkshire police officers enacted a Section 60 order covering Newbury town centre, Victoria Park, Northcroft Park and Goldwell Park.
A Section 60 order grants officers greater powers to stop and search people for items connected with violence in a defined location.
The order lasted from 2pm yesterday until 2am this morning, but has now been renewed until 2am on Friday.
Officers conducted 23 stop searches while the order was in place yesterday.
Two knives were recovered and one arrest was made. A knife arch, or walk-through metal detector, was also deployed in the town centre.
The force said: "The local community should be reassured rather than alarmed by the increased police presence. We are encouraged that residents have contacted us, and we will continue to listen to local concerns, and act accordingly to keep Newbury a safe place to enjoy local events.
"Please feel free to speak to officers out and about with concerns that you may have, as they are there to reassure as well as keep the streets safe."
One letter to parents states: “Dear parents and carers; I am writing to you in order to share information I have recently received from another school, whose parents are concerned about some of the things they have been told by their children about the [Michaelmas] fair taking place in Newbury between October 16 and 19.
“Although the majority of teenagers going to the fair do so to have fun, it seems that some young people are planning to have what they call a ‘stab night’, when students from around West Berkshire plan to confront other groups of students in order to initiate fights.”
It adds: “I have no reason to believe that any students from [our school] are intending to take part in this extremely concerning event, and indeed have no certain evidence that the event is actually going to happen in reality.
“However, I wanted to make you aware in order to inform your decisions about whether or not to allow your children to visit the fair.”
The letters have been sent out to a number of schools, including The Downs in Compton and John O’Gaunt in Hungerford.