EMERGENCY stop and search powers authorised by Hampshire Police last night in the town have been extended.

As reported in the Gazette, Hampshire Constabulary enacted the section 60 powers yesterday, which allows them to stop and search people with needing 'reasonable grounds' usually needed.

It resulted in 16 people being searched, but none were arrested and no weapons were found.

Now, Hampshire Constabulary have announced that the powers have been extended to cover the period from 3pm until midnight tonight.

The powers were authorised after 12 robberies took place over a number of days since last Thursday (January 16). Seven teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and remain under investigation.

Police say that robberies have taken place in areas across the town, including Shooters Way, Sutton Road, Pear Tree Way, Alencon Link, Turner Close, Glebe Gardens, Flaxfield Road and Church Square.

The area includes everything inside the ring road, as well as parts of Popley, and is the same area that was affected last night.

Speaking yesterday after asking young males to be particularly cautious, Basingstoke Neighbourhood Sergeant, Trevor Taylor, said: "We are asking people but particularly young men to follow common sense advice and try and walk with friends or adults. 

"Don't be distracted by using a mobile phone or listening to music, walk in well lit places and stick to routes where there are lots of other people. 

"If you can avoid it, don't make it obvious if you are carrying expensive gadgets. 

"We would like to reassure the community that there are increased patrols across the town. If you have any concerns, don't hesitatie to approach the officers."

What is stop and search and how does it work? 

Stop and search is when a police officer stops and then searches you, your clothes and anything you are carrying. The police can stop and search you: If they think you're carrying a weapon, drugs or stolen property. If they think you are carrying items that could be used to commit a crime or cause criminal damage.

In 1984, section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) gave police the power to stop and search a person of interest, if an officer has 'reasonable grounds' to believe they have been involved in a crime.

Stop and search, also known as 'SUS', is regulated by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Pace) and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and is applicable in England and Wales. 

The practice is controversial, as figures from 2018 show that ethnic minorities are more than four times as likely to be stopped by police, than white people.

In fact, that number appears to be rising, with a report showing that the number of black people stopped in 2018 was 4.3 times higher than white people in 2018, compared with 2.6 times more likely in 2014.