Shining a light on dark nights

It’s the time of year when the dark nights are drawing in, retailers are stocking eerie Halloween decorations and sweets are at the ready for trick or treaters. To mark the coming spooktacular festivities, South Yorkshire Police together with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are re-launching the annual Dark Nights campaign.

As fireworks go on sale ready for Bonfire Night, officers will be providing important safety advice and offering reassurance to the public over the coming weeks.

As part of this activity, officers will be speaking with local communities to highlight the dangers, and potentially fatal harm that can be caused through young people starting fires and playing with fireworks. We will also be using the hard-hitting ‘Connor’s Story’ arson campaign images and posters, and officers will be conducting extra patrols to address issues relating to antisocial behaviour.

Force lead for antisocial behaviour, Superintendent Colin McFarlane, has said: “Bonfire Night and Halloween are events celebrated by all ages and whilst we want them to be enjoyed by all, it is important that members of the public act both safely and responsibly.

“Our priority remains keeping everyone safe and we will be working with our colleagues from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, to educate everyone around the dangers of firework misuse and how issues or concerns around Bonfire Night, Halloween and ‘mischief night’, can be reported.

“There are lots of safety precautions everyone can take to prevent Halloween and Bonfire night from being remembered for all of the wrong reasons. For example, please make sure that you don’t leave rubbish or old furniture lying around – instead, store it securely behind a locked gate or away from your home.

“You can also ensure your wheelie bin is off the street after collection day and is secure within the boundary of your property. This will help to prevent these items from being used for small fires, which could spread quickly and put the lives of those you love most at risk.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s, Group Manager Simon Dunker, said: “Our firefighters often report seeing youngsters fleeing the scene of fires around this time of year and, whilst we’re not suggesting all kids are at fault, we know that young people often think they are invincible and that setting fires is just a bit of fun.

“The reality is though that playing with fire can have serious consequences that will stay with them forever. That is why it is for us as parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, firefighters and police officers to educate them around the consequences of deliberate fire setting and other anti-social behaviour.

“Our ask if that you talk to your youngsters – find out what they’re up to on bonfire night and as the nights get earlier, and make sure they know that playing with fire is no joke. The consequences are far reaching and could stay with them forever.”

Superintendent Colin McFarlane, continued: “I hope everyone, whatever their plans are for the celebrations, are thoroughly and safely enjoyed and I would urge anyone with concerns about firework misuse to report it via 101, or 999 in an emergency.”

Here is their advice and tips on how everyone can enjoy a safe Halloween and Bonfire Night this year.

  • If you do not want to be disturbed by trick or treaters this Halloween then you can download the South Yorkshire Police ‘no trick or treaters’ poster online at www.southyorkshire.police.uk/darknightsSimply put the poster in your window or on your door and those taking part in the festivities will know that you do not want to be disturbed.
  • Think first ‘do you need to call the police?’ Calls at this time of year are usually higher so please consider whether your call is best directed towards the police. Visit our webpage www.southyorkshire.police.uk/contact-us/should-i-call-101/ for advice on whether your call is a police issue before you call 101.
  • If you do need to call the police make sure you call the necessary number. Only call 999 in an emergency. For non-emergencies please call 101. You can also now report an incident online at www.reportingcrime.uk/ 

    To find out more about safety advice visitwww.southyorkshire.police.uk/darknights