Merton Council, the police and other partners which form Safer Merton – the crime reduction partnership for the borough – are joining together this month and next to work on a number of initiatives to help residents enjoy a safe Halloween and bonfire night.
At what is normally one of the busiest times of the year for the emergency services, reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in Merton were down by 26% this time last year due to a number of successful measures taken by the Safer Merton teams. Similar strategies will be put in place this year to ensure that everyone, whether joining in or not, can enjoy the celebrations.
Posters are being distributed to residents who don’t wish to take part in trick or treating which they can put up on their front doors or in their windows to make sure they are not disturbed on 31 October.
Local Safer Neighbourhoods teams are sending out letters asking shopkeepers not to sell flour and eggs to teenagers while the fire brigade and Merton Council’s trading standards team will be reminding traders it is illegal to sell fireworks to under 18s. Safer Neighbourhoods teams will be visiting vulnerable people, offering support and reassurance, and there will be midnight patrols during Halloween and bonfire night.
Police will be providing reassurance patrols at the major displays as well as police arrest teams available to respond and deal quickly with anti social behaviour.
Safer schools officers are also giving talks in assembly to schoolchildren on the implications of misusing fireworks and of anti-social behaviour on Halloween and 5 November.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for community safety and engagement, Councillor Tariq Ahmad said: “We are once again working hard with the police, the fire service and shopkeepers to make sure everyone enjoys Halloween and bonfire night this year.
“Last year the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour were down by over a quarter on the year before. But this is still too many. It is unacceptable that at this time of year a small number of people can ruin the celebrations for the majority of us. We are determined to put the needs of our residents first and take a tough stance against those who commit anti-social behaviour so that everyone can enjoy a safe Halloween and bonfire night.”
Notes for editors:
Safer Merton’s anti-social behaviour team will be contacting those subject to anti-social behaviour warning letters, acceptable behaviour agreements or anti-social behaviour order warning letters if applicable to inform them of the consequences of committing anti-social behaviour or misusing fireworks during Halloween and bonfire night.
Merton Council’s trading standards team and the fire service will be monitoring shops to make sure they don’t sell fireworks to underage children and they store fireworks correctly.
A police officer will be stationed at Merton Council’s CCTV room on bonfire night.