Merton comes together for safe bonfire season

Merton Council and its partners will this week be embarking on a borough wide project to ensure this Halloween and fireworks season is safe and enjoyable for all residents.

As one of the busiest times of year for the emergency services Merton will be putting a number of initiatives in place to try and relieve some of this pressure and ensure that everyone can enjoy celebrations and feel safe whether joining in or not.

Aside from late night police and neighbourhood warden patrols around key areas in the borough over Halloween and the main fireworks display evenings, this year the London Fire brigade and the council’s trading standards department will once again be working together with local business to ensure fireworks are not sold to anyone under 18. Shop owners will also be asked to withhold sales of eggs and flour to teenagers.

The council’s youth engagement teams and neighbourhood wardens will also be on hand alongside the police and fire service to talk to young people in schools about enjoying the festivities safely.

Safer Merton’s neighbourhood wardens will be out distributing ‘no trick or treat’ posters to members of the community who do not wish to participate in trick or treating and also advising them of who to contact for any assistance, should they feel vulnerable during the celebrations.

In the last two years partnership initiatives such as this have helped reduce anti-social behaviour and in particular fireworks related nuisance in Merton by 20.6% in 2007 and a further 18.75% in 2008, helping to keep Merton one of the safest boroughs in London.

Councillor Henry Nelless, Merton Council cabinet member for community safety and engagement said:

” With fear of crime being Merton residents’ top concern, the council and the Safer Merton partnership are continuing to make this time of year a priority. It is crucial that everyone can enjoy and feel safe during these celebrations regardless of whether they want to be involved or not.

‘ Working in partnership with the police, the fire brigade, trading standards and many others over the last two years has meant the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour has decreased by significant amounts. The council is determined it will once again put the needs of our residents first this year and take a tough stance against those who commit anti-social behaviour so that everyone can enjoy a safe Halloween and bonfire night.”