Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) are urging everyone to safe stay this Halloween and Bonfire Night period.
Officers will be patrolling communities across the region to ensure that people celebrate sensibly so that everyone is kept safe to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.
We understand that many people look forward to the occasion, however pleased be mindful that irresponsible and anti-social behaviour can cause fear to our most vulnerable residents.
In addition we urge the public to be cautious and to think again before holding a firework display at home, and instead encourage you to attend organised displays as they are controlled and safer which means less risk of people being injured or bonfires spreading out of control.
Please be aware that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess or use fireworks in a public place.
If for any reason there are reports of antisocial behaviour and criminal damage, then Dispersal Zones will be put in place in Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens.
Last year, there were fewer 999 calls and incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage reported on Bonfire Night than the year before with a 48% decrease in incidents.
In the lead up to Halloween and Bonfire Night, police officers and Trading Standards have been visiting retailers across the region to ensure they are selling fireworks in a responsible manner and more importantly they are licensed to sell legal fireworks.
If you have any concerns of retailers who are not licensed or if shops that are not storing fireworks appropriately, or selling fireworks that do not display appropriate safety marks or selling to anyone under 18, then call trading standards on 0808 223 1133.
Merseyside Police Community Engagement and Prevention team have been visiting schools in the region to talk to pupils on staying safe and enjoying the Halloween and Bonfire Night period in a responsible manner.
Funding has been available to local community groups to organise activities for young people to attend in a safe, fun and supervised events for young people to enjoy.
https://www.merseysidepcc.info/news-and-events/news/thousands-of-young-people-to-benefit-from-safe-engaging-activities-this-halloween-and-bonfire-night-thanks-to-pcc-s-fund/ for more details of events taking place in your area.
Commander for the policing operation, Chief Inspector Duncan Swan said: “As you will know Halloween and Bonfire Night are always a busy period for all the emergency services because of small of number of young people who tend to act in an anti-social and irresponsibly manner.
“Mindless acts such as throwing or attempting to light fireworks in public, and throwing objects at houses, cars and shops can have devastating or even fatal consequences.
“We will have extra high-visibility police officers patrolling neighbourhoods during this time, and if necessary dispersal orders will be put in place to protect people from any harm.
“Residents can also take some simple steps to prevent incidents such as bringing your wheelie bin in to prevent them being set them alight, which can have devastating or fatal consequences.
“However it is not all doom and gloom, as for the past two years we have seen a reduction in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage across Merseyside.
“I would appeal to young people to please think about your actions and the consequences of any reckless behaviour might have on others, particularly elderly people, and just imagine if it was your nan or grandad that was feeling frightened? No one should have to suffer or be a victim of anti-social behaviour.
“We do want young people to enjoy themselves, but in a responsible way and urge you to attend organised events and bonfire displays and activities taking place in your area so that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time without any incidents occurring.
“We would urge parents and guardians to know where your child is, what they are up to and friends they are with. This is to ensure they are not causing unnecessary distress to residents in the area, but also for your child’s own safety and welfare.”
Shopkeepers are also being urged not to sell any items such as eggs, flour and cans of shaving foam as well as ensuring fireworks are not sold to under 18s.
Damage caused from throwing eggs and flour, or any objects at windows, doors, cars and people is a criminal offence.
Chief Inspector Swan continued: “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 such fine.
“We all have a part of to play to play so that everyone stay safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.
“I urge retailers not to sell items to children which can cause harm on others, and parents to ensure your child is behaving responsibly.
“No parent would want a 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.”
In the lead-up to Bonfire Night last year, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service deployed six tipper trucks on the streets of Merseyside. Working from reports submitted to the MFRS website, these six tipper trucks collected more than 53 tonnes of waste from the streets of Merseyside before it could be used on a bonfire.
This year, the MFRS tipper trucks have been working since Monday, 23 October collecting bonfire materials from across Merseyside. Please report any build-up of combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via the MFRS website: https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/community-safety/bonfire-safety/report-an-unlit-bonfire/
Please report any build-up of combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service website: https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/community-safety/bonfire-safety/report-an-unlit-bonfire/
MFRS is asking local residents to take simple actions to help reduce the amount of these deliberate fires involving wheelie bins, bonfires and rubbish, known as ‘secondary’ fires. Secondary fires can prevent firefighters from responding to emergencies and potentially-life threatening incidents. Additionally, secondary fires can spread quickly and put lives and nearby properties at risk.
MFRS Group Manager for Community Safety Franny Hill said: “We’re asking everyone in Merseyside to help us help them by taking small actions in the lead up to and around Bonfire night to reduce the amount of deliberate fires our firefighters will attend. Wheelie bins can be an easy target so we’re asking you to bring your bins in as soon as you can after collection day. Be a good neighbour and take in your neighbours’ bins too if you can. Never give combustible materials to anyone and if you see any build-up of bonfire material, please report it on the MFRS website. Please help us help you by having conversations with young people, your family and friends about understanding the impact of deliberate fires on our Fire Service and the wider Merseyside community.”
GM Hill also encouraged safety and understanding of the fire risks around Halloween. He added: “We want everyone in Merseyside to enjoy Halloween as safely as possible. We understand Halloween is an exciting time for many families and we’re asking parents to take extra care when dressing their children and enjoying Halloween. Simple actions such as ensuring costumes have been tested for fire safety, adding a layer of clothing underneath costumes and swapping ordinary candles for LED or battery-operated ones inside pumpkins and decorations can make a huge difference.”
Always call 999 if a crime is in progress. You can pass any information on anti-social behaviour via our social media desk @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook.
You can also contact the independent charity Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.