HALLOWEEN and Bonfire Night can be fun but ‘trick or treating’ or setting off fireworks can turn into a nightmare if things get out of hand.
The Community Safety Partnership, which includes the county council, police, fire and rescue service and other partner organisations, is urging people to have fun but to stay safe and think of others.
The BANG initiative, which is being supported by the Scarlets, aims to tackle anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and fireworks misuse.
Police will be stepping up patrols during this period, visiting licensed premises and working with trading standards regarding the sale of fireworks.
Remember, it is illegal to buy fireworks or have fireworks in a public place if you are under 18, and the police can issue on-the-spot fines of £80. It is also against the law to set off or throw fireworks in the street and if found guilty by the courts, you could get fined up to £5,000 and /or up to three months in prison.
Again shops and supermarkets are being asked not to sell eggs and flour to young people and posters will again be available for householders to display in their windows to say whether they welcome trick or treaters.
Neighbourhood policing and school liaison officers will be visiting county schools with fire service personnel to remind pupils to act responsibly and to give advice on the dangers of bonfires and fireworks.
Parents are being urged to make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing and encourage them to attend organised events.
Various activities are being arranged by the council’s youth service from Halloween-themed blue light discos to extra youth club nights and detached youth workers will also be hitting the streets with neighbourhood policing officers on key nights. Half-term activities taking place include mountain biking, coasteering and motocross.
The council’s Executive Board Member for Community Safety Cllr Pam Palmer said: “We want to remind people that they can have fun without it leading to behaviour that causes damage or nuisance. We do not want to be kill joys and spoil people's fun but we understand many residents, particularly the elderly, dread this time of year. My advice for a safe and enjoyable Halloween and Bonfire Night is to show respect for others and act responsibly.”
The BANG initiative has been very successful in previous years and has led to a marked reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period. Last year saw a 10% decrease on the previous year and number of fire service calls to deliberate rubbish fires was also more than halved from 13 to five.
Sgt David Gaskins, responsible for community safety, said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a key priority for the partnership and police officers will be carrying out high visibility patrols across the county during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period to ensure that people are respecting their neighbours.
“What might seem like a prank to some young people may actually amount to carrying out an assault or causing criminal damage and those involved in this type of behaviour will have to face the consequences. We hope that with the support of parents, schools and the local community we can work together to help make Halloween and Bonfire Night safe and enjoyable.” The Halloween posters for residents are available at the council’s customer service centres, from your local neighbourhood policing team and can be downloaded from the council’s website www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk