Community Safety agencies will be stepping up action to keep Swindon’s streets safe over Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The Police in Swindon will patrol the streets, particularly in known hot spots, to tackle violent crime and criminal damage.
The Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is also organising alternative leisure activities for young people on Saturday 29 October to try and prevent anti-social behaviour. Doug Imrie, Coaching Co-ordinator with Leisure Services is pulling together the multi-agency event.
Richard Palusinski, Head of Swindon Community Safety Partnership said,‘This can be a distressing time of year for some people, particularly for some vulnerable members of the community and those who simply don’t want Trick or Treaters at their door. We would ask Trick or Treaters to respect the wishes of those who choose not to mark the occasion and to read the advice we have to ensure that this Halloween is safe and enjoyable for everyone’.
Superintendent Gavin Williams from Wiltshire Police stressed that, “We understand that Halloween is an exciting tradition for young people and we’re not trying to spoil their fun. We want to continue the downward trend in the reduction of anti-social behaviour at this time of year and by following some simple advice we can help minimise any distress to people in the community and reduce the likelihood of young people getting drawn into antisocial activities.
“Working together with partner agencies and our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, we have plans in place to help tackle anti-social behaviour, which include keeping an open dialogue with key members of local communities and increasing patrols in targeted areas.
“In the run up to Bonfire Night, Swindon Borough Council’s Trading Standards department will be visiting firework retailers to inspect safe storage, to advise on underage sales and to ensure that statutory signage is displayed. Staff will also be carrying out test purchasing to make sure that fireworks are not sold to people under 18 years.Local shops will also display posters reminding shoppers that eggs or flour will not be sold to under 18s in the days leading up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The Community Safety Partnership offers the following advice to both people intending to go ‘Trick or Treating’ and also the wider community:
Halloween code for Trick or Treaters:
· Parents/carers should ensure their children act sensibly
· Always trick and treat with an adult
· Only visit a house where you or the people you are with know the resident
· Do not knock on doors where there is a sign saying ‘Sorry no trick or treat here please’
· Stay in areas that are well lit with street lights – take a torch with you just in case
· Stay with the people you are with – do not go off on your own
· Do not talk to strangers on the street
· Do not enter any house – stay on the door step
· Be careful not to frighten vulnerable people, especially the elderly
· Look carefully before crossing the road
Other key messages
· For people who do not want to receive ‘Trick or Treat’ callers, a poster has been produced displaying the words ‘Sorry, no trick or treat here please.’ It is large enough for all callers to read and should be displayed in a prominent position either on the front door or front window. The posters can be downloaded from the Wiltshire Police website… or collected from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
· Don’t vandalise anything or throw things like eggs and flour. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and you could end up getting in trouble with the police. By doing this you may be causing criminal damage, an offence which can result in a 3 month jail sentence or a fine of up to £2,500.
· Young people who repeatedly disturb residents by door knocking are committing an offence under the Town and Police Clauses Act, which can carry a jail sentence of up to 14 days or a fine of up to £1,000.
· Penalty Notices for Disorder can also be issued which carry a fine of up to £80, which make it quicker and more straightforward for officers to penalise offenders on the spot, and hopefully tackle anti-social behaviour before it escalates.
Wiltshire Police have produced a poster for people who do not want to receive ‘Trick or Treat’ callers, which can be downloaded from the Wiltshire Police website www.wiltshire.police.uk or by contacting their local Neighbourhood Policing Team.