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Bonfire night and Hop tu Naa nuisance kept to minimum 8 November 2007

JOINT rapid response patrols of firefighters and police officers helped ensure anti-social behaviour was kept to a minimum through Hop tu Naa (October 31) and in the weeks up to Bonfire Night.

A total of 29 complaints were received in respect of fireworks incidents between October 28 and November 5 this year compared with 34 in the same period across the Island in 2006.

Nuisance resulting from Halloween night anti-social behaviour went up marginally to 21 reports in total this year, compared with 18 last year.

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK commented:

‘The value of neighbourhood teams working in partnership with the community cannot be overstated, and it’s extremely pleasing to see the success of firefighters and police working increasingly closely to reduce anti-social behaviour, along with more relationship building between the police and our young people.’

PC Andy Reed with seized fireworks Eastern Neighbourhood Policing Team (ENPT) recorded 13 incidents across Pulrose, Anagh Coar, Willaston, Tromode, Braddan and Laxey. Many were reports of people setting off or throwing fireworks, or throwing eggs and/or flour at properties or vehicles. The most significant involved damage to mail in Cronkbourne Village postbox, target of a firework attack on Saturday night (Nov 3), and damage to a dog bin on Laxey Promenade that was blown off its post in a firework incident on Sunday night.

ENPT Inspector Sid Caine said:

‘This year’s new initiative of joint patrols of firefighters and police officers clearly played a major role in minimising firework related incidents. Our working together was undoubtedly responsible for reducing potential incidents significantly and a lot of advice was given out to the community. We also confiscated quite a number of fireworks from young people under the Fireworks Act. Several yellow cards have been issued and other incidents will be followed up through the criminal justice system as appropriate. Having said that, I am both encouraged and very grateful for the responsible behaviour of the majority of the younger element of our community. As ever it is always a small minority that blight our neighbourhood. The feedback from all those involved in the patrols and from the community in general has been very positive and we will be looking to build on that in future years.’

Douglas Neighbourhood Policing Team recorded 10 fireworks incidents over the period and dealt with eight egg-throwing incidents on October 31.

DNPT Inspector Ken Kneale commented:

‘We have to be realistic and expect some incidents at this time of year when we see 300 to 400 young people coming into Douglas centre on a half term weekend. I feel we have done pretty well to keep incidents as low as they have been, especially when we’re encouraging people to report incidents. It’s fair to say there’s a perception that all firework offences are committed by young people but in fact there’s a very small number of troublemakers and we find the majority are respectful and responsible citizens.
‘Our schools officers visited all the schools before they broke up for half-term and I am delighted with the way young people have responded on the basis of these figures. To have incidents barely reaching double figures is very good and I pay tribute to the young people and the officers who are building up a rapport with youngsters.’

Douglas officers will be on patrol for Douglas Corporation’s public bonfire and fireworks display this Saturday (Nov 10) on Douglas beach between the War Memorial and the Esplanade. The event starts at 6.45pm.

In total fireworks incidents for 2007 (compared with 2006) were as follows for each neighbourhood: Douglas 10 (8); Eastern 13 (15); Northern 2 (3); Southern 3 (3); Western 1 (5). Halloween egg/flour throwing complaints reported: Douglas 8 (4); Eastern 12 (9); Southern 1 (1); Western 0 (3) and Northern 0 (1).

Firefighters had a busy weekend: They were called out to a gorse fire on Head Road, Douglas, near the Camera Obscura at 2pm on Saturday, followed at 3.30pm with a grass fire on the coastal path from Glen Maye to Peel. They put out the Cronkbourne postbox fire at 8.30pm on Saturday and extinguished a wheelie bin fire on Marine Drive, Douglas, that was also started by a firework.

Fire Community Safety Officer Carl Kinvig commented:

‘The joint patrols with the police were very effective from our perspective in enabling us to give advice to people and increase safety awareness in terms of private bonfires and the use of fireworks. There were a couple of malicious incidents involving misuse of fireworks over the weekend that resulted in fires but fortunately damage was kept to a minimum and we have no reports of any serious injuries. Everybody we spoke to was very receptive and we feel the joint patrols worked extremely well and are definitely something we’re looking at for next year.’

Photo caption: Constable Andy Reed pictured with some of the fireworks confiscated during the Eastern Neighbourhood Partnership’s joint patrols by local police and firefighters.

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