Essex Police brings in search powers after three stabbings in 10 minutes
Police invoked special stop and search powers after three people were stabbed within 10 minutes in a town centre.
Essex Police said two teenage boys and a man were taken to hospital after being stabbed in Colchester between 18:22 and 18:31 GMT on Saturday.
As a result, the force's temporary deputy chief constable approved use of additional powers to search people.
The "robust policing tactic" was used for three hours to "ensure order had been fully restored", the force said.
A 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man from London were arrested, along with a 21-year-old man from Barking.
Ch Insp Simon Anslow said none of those who were stabbed suffered life-threatening injuries.
"This is a rare situation in any town and we are using the full range of legal tools at our disposal to keep the overwhelming majority of people safe, while making sure those intent on causing trouble will be swiftly picked up and dealt with," he said.
"We will be pursuing a vigorous investigation to put all those we can find who are responsible for this detestable behaviour before the courts."
The use of section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 gives officers the power to search people for dangerous objects and weapons without the need to have a reasonable suspicion.
The powers were in force in Colchester town centre from 18:40 until 21:50 GMT on Saturday.
Colchester MP Will Quince said he supported the force's use of the powers in this instance.
"Their swift action in getting the section 60 order, which is a rarely used piece of legislation, means they can stop anybody without reasonable cause to check if they have a weapon within a certain time frame - I applaud the police for doing that," he said.