Staffordshire Police are urging residents to ensure they stay safe and vigilant this Halloween and Bonfire Night in order to protect themselves and others from the risk of fire as well as any associated anti-social behaviour.
Officers are working with colleagues from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, local authorities and the community to make sure you protect yourself and others from the risk of fire, injury or criminality as we approach the darker winter months.
The end of October into early November is a well-known period of celebration for many of our communities, with many events taking place around the region.
They are looking forward to seeing you enjoying this time of year and we aren’t here to spoil the fun.
However, this is traditionally a period which sees an increase in demand for emergency services.
The majority of people enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night responsibly, but some put themselves and others at risk, while a minority use this period as an excuse to engage in unacceptable anti-social behaviour.
They want to make sure these events are enjoyable and safe for everyone – including families, trick-or -treaters, residents, elderly neighbours, local businesses and visitors. That is why we are reminding everyone of how they can protect themselves from the dangers of fire this time of year as well as the potential impact of any anti-social behaviour.
Chief Inspector Chris Cotton said: “Neighbourhood officers across Staffordshire will be highly visible during this period and will be actively engaging with the community to provide reassurance.
“We encourage you to have a chat with your local officers who will be making sure everyone feels safe and protected.
“We do want to be clear, however, that this period is not an excuse for nuisance and anti-social behaviour. It will not be tolerated and those intent on causing problems will be robustly dealt with in a proportionate way.”
If you are thinking about going trick-or-treating this year, we advise that you:
- Go with a responsible adult and make sure your parent or carer knows where you are going and what time to expect you back
- Only go to the houses of people you know and those who are happy for you to call
- Take extra care not to frighten elderly or vulnerable people
- Pay attention to not call at homes which are displaying a ‘no trick or treat here’ sign. These can be downloaded online and placed in your window
- Do not throw eggs and flour.
A dedicated phoneline and email has been set up with Stoke-on-Trent City Council so that the local community can report any concerns regarding anti-social behaviour related to these seasonal events:
- Call: 01782 233400
- Email: [email protected]
After Halloween comes Bonfire Night, where firefighters are urging families to attend organised displays and take extra care to ensure they are safe.
Fireworks can cause serious injury if people are not on high alert to possible danger.
Ian Read, Head of Prevent and Protect at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We want the public to enjoy themselves as much as possible on Bonfire Night, but we also need to stress how important it is to be aware of the risks involved.
“We strongly recommend that you attend professionally organised displays, which are much safer with few significant injuries occurring, as well as first aid actively on hand.
“If you do decide to celebrate with fireworks at home, please plan this carefully and take extra care.”
If you are hosting or attending a private display, firefighters strongly recommend that you:
- Follow the firework code. More information can be found here: Fireworks: the law – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Store fireworks in a locked and secure container
- Avoid having a display in your garden
- Never consume alcohol if you are responsible for a display
- Make sure a safe distance is maintained.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader, Councillor Abi Brown, said: “We want to reiterate the safety messages from both the police and fire services.
“It’s a lovely time of year, but it is important that residents are only attending official events as unofficial events come with extra risks such as safety concerns and they may not be insured.
“The emergency services are incredible in helping people at times of crisis, and historically are even more so during the lead-up to and on bonfire night.
“We’re supporting the local neighbourhood policing teams to ensure that residents feel safe out in public and in their homes and commit to making Halloween and Bonfire Night enjoyable occasions.
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Victoria Wilson, added: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time during Halloween and Bonfire Night celebrations.
“We’d like to remind people that not everyone in their community takes part and to respect their wishes. It can be an uncertain time for some, particularly more vulnerable people and pet owners.
“Our advice is to attend organised firework displays wherever possible, and if people do have home displays follow safety advice and only buy fireworks from licensed traders.
“The county council’s trading standards team has been working with traders in the lead-up to Bonfire Night offering advice and guidance on safe sales, and shops should display a sticker of authentication if they’re selling fireworks.”