Merseyside Police is encouraging young people, families and businesses to play their part in keeping communities safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period and is warning anyone who commits incidents of anti-social behaviour to expect a swift response.
Extra officers will be out on the streets across Merseyside over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period to ensure that people can enjoy the festivities in their area safely. Officers are asking parents to help keep communities safe by taking responsibility for their children’s whereabouts and to be mindful of any neighbours who may be elderly or vulnerable and who might feel frightened or intimidated.
Shopkeepers are also being urged not to sell any items that can be misused to cause damage, such as eggs, flour and cans of shaving foam. The force has been involved in a multi-agency operation to provide a whole range of activities across Merseyside, organise events including River of Light and provide public reassurance.
Chief Inspector Paddy Kelly, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said: “This is always a fun time of year and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the organised events and activities safely.
“Our message during this period is simple – anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and anyone caught committing this type of offence will be dealt with firmly and robustly. No one should have to suffer being the victim of anti-social behaviour and I would like to reassure everyone that there will be extra high-visibility patrols during this time.
“We know the vast majority of young people have respect for other people and their property but we know the behaviour of some can go beyond fun.
“I would urge those young people who may be considering behaving in an unacceptable way to think about what you are doing and how you may make other people feel. How would you feel if a member of your own family was too frightened to leave their own home or walk down the street? Under no circumstances is it ok to throw things at people or their homes, commit criminal damage or abuse or intimidate people.”
Paddy continued: “We consider the support of parents and guardians vital at this time of year. Together, we can minimise the risk by not letting children hang around the streets with nowhere to go and know who they are with and what they are doing, especially in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
“Damage caused by used by Halloween ‘tricks’, such as throwing eggs and flour, or any objects at windows, doors, cars and people is a criminal offence and it is also illegal for those under the age of 18 to buy, carry, or use fireworks. Under the Explosives Act of 1875 it is also illegal to let off or throw a firework in a public place.
“Anyone involved in criminal behaviour could be arrested and receive a fine, a criminal record or even jail time. If your child is under 16 then you will be liable for payment of any fine.
“By taking some simple steps it could prevent that knock on their door from a police officer informing them that their child has been arrested or, worse still, has been involved in a serious accident.”
Michael Buratti, Arson Team Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said: “We would like everyone to enjoy the Halloween and Bonfire period as safely as possible. Organised events are the best way to watch and enjoy fireworks and bonfires with your family and friends as they provide a safe environment.
“Deliberately started fires on the run up to bonfire night are a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. Attending such fires may delay our response to a life threatening incident.
“We would urge people on the run-up to bonfire night to report any build-up of combustible materials that could be used for deliberate fires by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
“Last year, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service attended 80 wheelie bin fires over the bonfire period. We would advise that if you have a wheelie bin, to store it out of sight so it cannot be stolen and set alight. If your bin is stolen, you may have to pay for a replacement.”
For information on activities happening over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period in Merseyside, visit www.merseyside.police.uk
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