ECHO readers are calling for police to be given increased stop and search powers following the double stabbing in Westcliff last night.

Two teenagers were taken to hospital with stab wounds following a mass brawl in Chalkwell Esplanade, near Chalkwell train station.

Police say their injuries are not life-threatening.

An 18-year-old man from Basildon was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and possession of drugs, and a 20-year-old man from South Ockendon was arrested on suspicion of affray.

They remain in custody for questioning.

Readers have spoken of their shock at the incident on Facebook and want to see police give more powers, particularly around the Chalkwell Park area.

Allie Beckman wrote: "Stop and search should be mandatory. Yes not fair on those that are good kids, but it needs to stop. So if you have nothing to hide it shouldn't be a problem.

"I know it didn't start at the park, but you seem to hear a lot about the groups causing trouble over there."

David Everett said: "Every weekend large groups gather their.

"Why don’t the police have a presence around the park, god forbid, some stop and search as well."

Leigh Brown added: "The park also sounds like there's a festival happening every weekend. It's feasible that's where people are headed, and there have been incidents there.

"It needs to close of a night Fri-Sun at the very least."

Officers were given special stop and search powers between 8.45pm last night and 6am this morning to prevent any further violence.

The section 60 order covered all of Chalkwell Park and the surrounding area.

Readers are also concerned about the impact incidents like last night's will have on Westcliff and Southend as a whole.

Steve Mills wrote on Facebook: "Great advertising for the high street shops, come to Southend, bring a weapon, you will probably need it to defend yourself or stay away."