WE are building up to one of our busiest times of year with Halloween and Bonfire Night fast approaching.

Every year at this time we see a real spike in demand for our services in relation to anti-social behaviour and other related matters.

This has a big impact on not just our services but those of our partners as we see a significant increase in the number of calls we receive. Unfortunately this time of year can generate fear, especially amongst the most vulnerable in our communities including the elderly, those of ill health or those who have disabilities.

Force Lead for ASB (anti-social behaviour), Chief Inspector Mark Brier explained: “Whilst fun for some, the modern day celebrations of Halloween and Bonfire Night can be perceived as scary and threatening in nature and in addition the misuse of fireworks is both dangerous and frightening.

“We do have our work cut out in ensuring that this time of year is not used by the minority as an excuse to break the law or harass individuals unnecessarily. At the same time we want to uphold tradition and support these celebrations which are enjoyed by children of all ages.

“In terms of what communities are telling us, one of the main concerns from residents is the prospect of being targeted for not taking part and at worst, the celebrations being used as a licence to cause anti-social behaviour and target people who have already been the victim of anti-social behaviour, causing them more harm and distress.”

CI Brier added: “Persistent knocking at addresses, wilful damage or vandalism to premises, use of derogatory language are not within the spirit of both events and can cause real harm to vulnerable individuals and in particular to those who live alone. The impact of setting off fireworks in close proximity to other resident’s houses who have animals also needs to be highlighted; many pet owners dread this time of year for the effect it has on their pets.”

We are therefore appealing to people to enjoy themselves but to do so lawfully and with consideration for others who do not find this time of year fun. Parents and shop keepers are also asked to be alert at this time of year to the possibility of children buying or acquiring any items such as eggs which may be used anti-socially. While parents are also advised that, if their children are going out Trick a Treating, to ensure they are with a responsible adult.

As part of our seasonal, #NotFunForEveryone, campaign we have also once again produced No Callers posters which residents can place in windows to request people don’t knock there as part of Trick or Treating.

These have been sent out to local policing teams for distribution but can also be downloaded at: https://bit.ly/2RBNiHY [1]

“I think the simple message we have for those taking part in the celebrations is to be mindful of the effect that their actions can have on the more vulnerable and isolated in our communities,” said CI Brier.

To report an incident to police please call 101, in an emergency always call 999.

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