Barking violent clashes ‘biggest since 2011 riots’
PUBLISHED: 17:35 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:28 03 March 2016
Knives, baseball bats, acid and wood containing nails were all seized in a brawl involving more than 200 people last night.
Borough Commander Sultan Taylor described the incident in Barking town centre as the largest since the London riots in 2011.
A total of 16 people – aged between late-teens and early 20s – were arrested and seven have been charged after fighting broke out close to Barking Abbey School at about 3.30pm.
Further violence continued into the town centre, flaring up again at about 5.30pm outside shops in East Street with crowds not fully dispersing until about 9pm.
A pair of hunting knives were seized along with two liquids – one was a harmful cleaning product and the other is yet to be identified.
Two police officers were injured in the disorder and today members of the Territorial Support Group are supporting the borough for reassurance.
“We haven’t seen anything like this [in terms of numbers] since the riots in 2011,” Chief Supt Taylor told the Post.
“In terms of the numbers involved this is the most significant incident we have had to deal with since then, but we believe we have the resources to deal with it.”
Officers invoked a Section 60 Order of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 yesterday and through to today – meaning officers have the power to stop and search people for weapons without any grounds – across the borough.
The rare order is only used when officers believe there is a good chance that people are carrying weapons unlawfully.
Chief Supt Taylor also confirmed that the violence is not being treated as gang-related at the moment, and that those arrested in their teens came from a variety of different schools.
“We are going to take a very strong stance and anyone in custody in relation to this incident will be charged,” he added.
“People who think it’s okay to carry weapons or noxious liquids need to understand this is a very, very serious offence and could result in a custodial sentence.
“We are working in partnership with the council and schools to prvent any further incidents.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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