In a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade (LFB), Westminster City Council is launching a dedicated ‘Autumn Nights’ campaign to keep residents safe in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
As the clocks go back at the end of October, the darker evenings can be a trigger for anti-social behaviour and crime associated with a small number of young people - for example letting off fireworks in residential streets.
Running from 18 October 2019 through to 5 November 2019, activity during the ‘Autumn Nights’ campaign will include:
- Visits by Trading Standards officers, accompanied by police and firefighters, to retailers across the city checking they are aware of the restrictions around selling knives and fireworks, and ensuring items are positioned where they can’t be shoplifted. There will also be a test purchases programme using under-age buyers.
- Supported by Westminster City Inspectors, police officers will conduct highly visible weapons sweeps in a number of sites across the city.
- Increased numbers of police on patrol in the borough, including after-school patrols
- Engagement by the council, police and LFB with schools, community groups and youth clubs. The police’s Safer School Officers and LFB officers will share Firework Safety Advice in local schools and in letters to parents
- Housing services team will put up notices about firework safety in housing blocks across Westminster, arrange temporary CCTV access for police, and caretakers will monitor housing estates to tackle anti-social behaviour and clear potential fire hazards. There will also be extensive liaison with resident associations and resident focus groups.
Cllr Ian Adams, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing said:
“Unfortunately, the darker evenings leading up to Halloween and Bonfire Night can lead to an unwelcome increase in anti-social behaviour and crime across the country including London, and Westminster is no exception. These incidents are usually down to an irresponsible minority, but we share our residents’ concerns so will be working with the police and fire services to put in place a comprehensive package of measures so people can enjoy a fun but safe Halloween and Bonfire Night.”
Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the Metropolitan Police’s Central West Basic Command Unit, said:
“We recognise this is a challenging time for local communities who often suffer from increased levels of anti-social behaviour. We are working closely with our partners in Westminster City Council to ensure that together we support the community and deal robustly with incidents of criminality.”
There will be an organised bonfire and fireworks display at Queen’s Park Gardens (W10 4QJ) on the evening of Tuesday 5 November. The event is free to attend.
There also a number of organised paid-for displays across London in early November including Battersea Park Fireworks on 2 November.
For fireworks safety advice from London Fire Brigade please visit: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/fireworks/ (opens new window).