Bonfire Night Warning

Bonfire Night is coming and along with Hackney Council, the Police are running a joint operation to keep the borough’s celebrations safe. Together, agencies are urging residents to know their rights and report illegal and anti-social behaviour that can spoil the fun and frighten people at this time of year.

The Safer Neighbourhoods’ Team is on duty, throughout the autumn festivities, to support a large-scale policing operation. Annually, during Halloween and Bonfire Night, there is an increase in anti-social behaviour with recorded incidents of dangerous use of fireworks; criminal damage, robbery and secondary fires rising.

Hackney Council’s Trading Standards and Police will be conducting undercover operations where young people are sent into shops to test purchase fireworks and alcohol to crack down on illegal sales. The Council and Police will also visit shops to inform Hackney retailers of the regulations surrounding the safe storage and sales of fireworks.

Residents are asked to stay on the alert for illegal fireworks - all legal fireworks must be marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114. They should also keep a look out for “pop up” temporary shops or vans selling fireworks. Residents are urged to report concerns about the illegal sale or storage of fireworks to Trading Standards.

It’s also crucial that residents report anti-social behaviour and the illegal use of fireworks to the Police. Fireworks should not be set off after 11pm on any day other than the 5th Nov, the 31 Dec, which is Chinese new year and Diwali. Anyone setting off fireworks outside the curfew risks getting a maximum fine of £5,000 or six months in prison. Throwing fireworks is also illegal and it is illegal for under-18s to be in possession of fireworks. Residents who believe the law is being flouted are asked to contact the Police.

Cllr Alan Laing, Member of Cabinet for Neighbourhoods said: “We want everyone in Hackney to be able to enjoy Bonfire Night and Halloween without having their fun spoiled by a small number of people bent on causing trouble or capitalising on the market for fireworks and alcohol. We are running joint operations with the police to increase safety and encourage residents to know their rights and look out for one another’s safety.”

Inspector Martin Waugh, leading the initiative for Hackney Police, said: "During the key periods of Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali, the police, the local authority and Trading Standards and the London Fire Brigade will be working together to enforce the regulations around the sale of fireworks to under 18s through test purchase operations and prosecutions while pushing the safety message. We want everyone to enjoy the festivities - we don t want to stop young people from having fun, however we want yo make this time as safe as possible."


Notes for Editors

Key Safety Messages:

Advice to Parents, and carers –

• Make sure you know where your children are and they know how to behave
• Go with them trick or treating if you can
• Keep fireworks in a safe place in the house
• Report any anti-social behaviour or concerns to your local Safer Neighbourhood teams.
• Attend organised events wherever possible.

Advice to young people -

• We want you to enjoy yourselves but will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour.
• Ensure you are safe by staying with others
• Leave your valuable property at home.
• Attend organised events wherever possible.
• When trick or treating avoid knocking on the doors of elderly neighbours and causing unnecessary worry.

* The Learning Trust, supported by the Safer Schools Partnership is also working to raise awareness amongst Hackney’s children and young people of the dangers of fireworks and the importance of the Fireworks Safety Code. As in previous years, schools are encouraged to reinforce key safety messages to reduce the risk of serious burns and anti-social behaviour. Hackney’s campaign follows the whole of the festival season culminating in February 2008 and includes Bonfire Night, Diwali, Eid, Chanuka, Christmas, New Years Eve and Chinese New Year.