RANDOM stop-and-search operations are being carried out by police as warring factions bring violence to the streets of Wybourn in Sheffield.
Officers have been given authority under the Public Order Act to use Section 60 powers, which give them the right to stop and search anyone in Wybourn, Park Hill, Skye Edge, Intake and Richmond.
A top-level review of the powers is taking place every 24 hours.
“We don’t often do this,” Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali told The Star. “We use it only when there has been an incident of serious violence or there is likely to be, and recently we have been using the powers day after day. “It should show how seriously we are treating this.”
Detectives involved in investigating the ‘tit-for-tat’ attacks, arsons and vandalism in the wake of a teenager’s shooting said they are determined to stop the ‘senseless violence’.
“We want to restore order for decent members of the community,” DCI Ali said.
Wybourn residents, some of whom were afraid to talk openly or be named, told The Star of a sense of tension.
Ambandeep Chadha, manager of the Premier store on Boundary Road, said: “Some people are afraid to come out because they’ve heard about what happened. It’s a strong community and it’s a case of being vigilant and people watching out for each other, making sure their kids aren’t hanging around at night.”
Mum Zarina Blackwell, 26, said: “I wouldn’t say I don’t feel safe but I know what the estate’s like. I know most of the people on it.
“I think the police presence will help because people who don’t know the area or people do feel a bit intimidated.”
Resident Lillian Tootell added: “It’s good to see police in the area, it makes you feel safe, because there are a lot of gangs and drugs in this area.”
Police patrolled the estate in pairs, with vans and cars stationed on streets, as part of a highly visible presence.
“Officers are carrying out stop-and-searches looking for dangerous weapons to stop groups of people getting together for violence - it is a tactic we will continue until this situation is resolved,” DCI Ali said.
“We are deeply concerned that we have two young men in hospital as a result of this dispute.
“I would appeal to anybody who has any information to get in touch with us, which they can do in confidence, to help put a stop to this senseless violence.
“My appeal to parents of some of these young people is if you can do anything to influence their behaviour, please do so.”
Insp Paul Ferguson, from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The increased police presence is to reassure the community after the recent incidents of violence, which have occurred between two groups of people in the area.
“I would like to stress the streets of Wybourn remain a safe place to live and work for anyone not connected with these disputes.
“The police investigation is progressing quickly, with the recovery of a firearm and several arrests.
“Detectives would welcome any information to assist them, and urge anyone who believes they have witnessed anything or has any information to please call South Yorkshire Police.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.