Police to carry out extra patrols in Halloween crackdown on antisocial behaviour
- Credit: Suffolk police
Suffolk shopkeepers are being urged to ban the sale of eggs and flour to young people as part of a police crackdown on antisocial behaviour this Halloween.
Suffolk Constabulary is urging people to “treat others with fun not frights” during the season of trick-or-treating, fancy dress.
Officers will be increasing patrols, highlighting safety messages and urging retailers to restrict flour and egg sales.
Police say that while Halloween should be a “fun celebration”, the seasonal “high spirits” can sometimes cross the line and be seen as antisocial or intimidating,
The force highlighted practices whereby groups of young people knock on every door, demanding gifts or payment, as being potentially distressing for vulnerable or older people.
Community engagement and crime reduction Sgt Steve Wright said: “We hope that this year, as was the case 12 months ago, people will take a responsible attitude to Halloween. While we don’t want youngsters to think we are picking on them or trying to spoil their fun, it is important that everyone understands the consequences of irresponsible behaviour for themselves and others.
“If you are planning to go out trick or treating, please make sure you only visit those who are happy to take part and please respect residents who may not want to be disturbed. We are also appealing to the public in general to be a little more tolerant of the behaviour of those celebrating Halloween.
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“Last year, officers conducting patrols encountered a number of people out enjoying Halloween, the vast majority of whom were found to be in good spirits and behaving considerately towards others and we hope that we find the same this time round.
“We would also like to remind people that anyone carrying out activities that may scare members of the public could be committing public order offences and may be subject to arrest.
“There will be extra patrols throughout the county and each area has a specific set of initiatives for tackling any disturbances caused by unruly celebrations. Officers on patrol will be looking out for unsafe or irresponsible behaviour, particularly offences such as egg throwing or people setting off fireworks in public places as Bonfire Night takes place a few days later.”
People found to have caused damage by egg throwing will be prosecuted and could face a criminal record.
The campaign will also see retailers reminded that it is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18 or to sell fireworks that fly erratically including mini rockets and bangers.
During the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, safety messages will be posted from Suffolk Constabulary’s social media accounts.
Police will be handing out posters to local shops making them aware of the work they will be doing in the run up to Halloween and posting messages on Facebook.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Trick-or-treating can be great fun, and I don’t want to spoil that fun, but I would ask that those taking part keep themselves safe and be respectful to others.
“For those on the receiving end of trick-or-treaters, particularly the old and vulnerable, it can be quite a upsetting experience. My message to anyone planning to go trick-or-treating is, by all means enjoy yourselves and have fun, but please give some thought to those who don’t want to join in. The safest option is to only visit people you know.”
People with concerns are advised to call 999 in an emergency, or 101 for non-emergency assistance.
Reports can also be made online.
Two Halloween posters are available to download from the Suffolk Constabulary website for members of the public to display, indicating whether they welcome trick or treaters.
Tips for having a safe Halloween
• Never go trick or treating alone or split up from your friends.
• Always check with your parents or carer first.
• Only go to houses where you or your friends know who lives there.
• Don’t talk to strangers on the street or go off with them.
• Stay in well-lit areas.
• Ensure you can be seen by wearing reflective clothing and carry a torch.
• Take care when crossing roads - it may be hard to see so well in a costume.
• Although Halloween is about looking spooky, be careful not to frighten those who do not want to take part.
• Eggs and flour make a mess - most shops won’t sell them to under-16s over Halloween.