Police armed with metal detectors will patrol the streets of St Helens alongside mounted officers over the weekend in a bid to crackdown on a wave of violent attacks in the town centre.
It comes following the shocking murder last week of 20-year-old Ryan Lamb, who was stabbed to death following an incident at the Shere Khan takeaway.
Police chiefs have introduced the temporary dispersal zone for the entire town centre.
Officers will use stop and search powers and handheld metal detectors following a number of knife attacks over recent weeks.
The zone will be in operation from 6pm today (Friday, 28 April) until 6pm on Sunday (30 April).
The area covered by the dispersal zone includes the area bounded by Tolver Street, Birchley Street, Corporation Street, King Street, A58 Link Way West, A58 Link Way East, Parr Street, Shaw Street, Canal Street, Bold Street and Liverpool Street
The zone has been brought in under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which gives police officers and police community support traffic officers powers to direct people they suspect are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to leave the area for up to 48 hours.
If a person has been directed to leave the area and returns during the period of the dispersal notice, an offence will have been committed.
Any breaches of this can lead to their arrest.
Insp Matt Drennan said: “We are using every power available to us to keep residents and visitors to our town safe so they can enjoy all that St Helens has to offer.
“We have successfully used dispersal orders to tackle a variety of issues, from anti-social behaviour and violent crime to drug dealing and again this weekend will be targeting people involved in this type of criminality.
“There will be also volunteer street pastors patrolling this evening offering support and advice.
“The dispersal zone gives us the powers we need to deal effectively with people and I would urge anyone in the area who has any information about criminality in their area to contact 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”