Police in a seaside city have been given new powers over fears that people on TikTok were planning a massive rave on the beach.
There were fears that troublemakers would target in Southend-on-Sea in Essex again - after major disorder in the city last week, and chaos in London's Oxford Street on Wednesday were seemingly coordinated on the social media platform.
Police placed a dispersal order on the area and stepped up patrols on Thursday, saying there was a "possibility of a large group of people travelling to the city".
The force said it was "aware of an event which is planned to take place in Southend", and would have the extra powers until midday on Saturday.
The dispersal order gives officers the power to ban anyone suspected of acting anti-socially. If they do not comply, they could be arrested.
On Thursday, police used the powers 27 times to break up groups, and police confirmed their powers would be extended for another 24 hours until midday on Sunday.
Two teenage boys were arrested on suspicion of failing to disperse, and one of them was also arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.
Around 1 August, hundreds of young people caused disorder in the town.
In TikTok posts, hordes of people could be seen running away from police. Social media users named the carnage Southend Motive.
In London on Wednesday, hundreds of youths descended on the shopping hotspot after TikTok posts allegedly called for riots and looting.
Essex Police Ch Supt Waheed Khan said: “Southend is really great place for people to visit and we want to encourage people to come here, enjoy the seafront and make use of the brilliant attractions and businesses.
“But if people come here and behave antisocially or commit crime, the reality is we’re going to take a robust approach to that and people acting that way could ultimately end up in a police cell.
“Throughout Thursday, and indeed as we enter this weekend, there will be an obvious police presence in city. We’re there to help people and make sure people can enjoy the city safely. But equally, the officers will respond appropriately and robustly if they have to.
“I would say to anyone coming to Southend planning on causing trouble, please think twice, it won’t be tolerated, and you’ll be arrested.”
Simon Harris' report on youngsters causing riots in London's Oxford Street
On Thursday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman called for those who took part in a suspected TikTok-inspired raid of shops in London’s Oxford Street to be “hunted down” and jailed.
Video clips showed police wielding batons in a clash with dozens of young men and wrestling some of them away on Wednesday.
West End stores were forced to close their shutters and lock customers inside during the attempted looting raid, which was reportedly inspired by a social media craze encouraging people to take part in an “Oxford Street JD robbery”.
The Metropolitan Police arrested nine people and issued 34 dispersal orders during the incident.
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