Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Police chase anti-social ghosts and ghoulies

POLICE in West Somerset will be chasing mischievous ghosts and ghouls this Halloween as Operation Relentless turns its attention to those using the occasion as an excuse to be anti-social.
Halloween is traditionally the busiest night of the year for police, with a massive increase in calls from the public around anti-social behaviour.
As part of Operation Relentless, extra patrols including Special Constables and partner agencies will be out on October 31 to target the anti-social behaviour hot spots across the area.
In the run-up to the day, officers have also been working with retailers, schools, and Neighbourhood Watch groups to give out personal safety advice on how to have a safe and fun Halloween.
Retailers are once again linking up with the police and refusing to sell flour and eggs to under-18s.
Police are particularly asking parents to take responsibility for where their children are on the night and what they are doing - both for their own safety and the safety of the people they visit.
Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: “This is not about criminalising Halloween or trick or treating.
“It is about ensuring everybody enjoys the night safely.
“For most young people, the evening is all about having fun, but for some older children they use Halloween as an excuse to act in an anti-social manner causing misery to vulnerable local residents.”
On the evening, police will have extra patrols around the dispersal zones in towns and villages.
Mr Hansen said: “From experience, when officers have returned children to their homes, many parents are unaware of where they have been or have been told a different story.
“It is really important that parents work with us to target anti-social behaviour so that everybody can enjoy the evening.
“I would ask parents - do you know where your child will be on Halloween? If not, then check it out. Are you satisfied they will be safe?
“We do not want to spoil anybody’s fun but what we will not allow is anti-social behaviour to be masked under the name of Halloween.
“This is behaviour which, on any other night of the year, is clearly unacceptable.
“While some of the ‘tricks’ seem like harmless fun, some people can go too far and act in a manner which some vulnerable members of the community find very frightening.
“They should not have to tolerate this, so nor will we.”
Halloween postcards will be given to young people in the run up to the day giving advice on how to trick or treat safely.
Advice includes:
  • Always go trick or treating with an adult
  • Only go to houses where you or your friends know the residents
  • Stay in areas that are well lit and take a torch with you just in case
  • Stay with your friends – don’t get split up unless an adult goes with you
  • Don’t knock on doors where there is a sign saying ‘No Trick or Treat here'
  • Don’t talk to strangers on the street and don’t enter any house - stay on the doorstep

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