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Joint patrols combat anti-social behaviour 10 November 2008

Joint fireworks patrolsHIGH-PROFILE community patrols had a dramatic impact on the level of anti-social behaviour experienced around Hop-tu-Naa and Bonfire Night.

The number of complaints about the irresponsible use of fireworks fell to just 11, compared with 29 for same period last year. And problems associated with Halloween trick or treating also showed a significant drop - from 21 in 2007 to 10 this year.

Home Affairs Minister Adrian Earnshaw MHK said:

‘These statistics highlight the effectiveness of the safety initiative conducted by police officers, firefighters and staff from the Office of Fair Trading. The presence of officers and vehicles in hot-spot areas proved very successful in reducing the nuisance caused to local residents. This has been a real team effort involving several Government agencies and I’d also like to thank members of the public for their co-operation.’

Statistics compiled by the Isle of Man Constabulary relate to the 10-day period from October 28 to November 6. Complaints about fireworks generally related to rockets and bangers being set off in residential areas late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Of the 11 incidents reported, eight occurred around Douglas, with one each in Andreas, Santon and Castletown.

Officers from all five neighbourhood policing teams were involved in the enforcement operation which was aimed at promoting community safety. Their work backed up the licensing and education side of the joint campaign co-ordinated by the Office of Fair Trading.

Extra police resources were positioned in Douglas and Onchan as those areas had experienced the highest number of complaints about fireworks in previous years. Uniformed and plain clothes foot patrols were supported by the use of a command unit vehicle with the capacity to record CCTV footage.

Inspector Helen Mason, head of the Eastern NPT, said:

‘This year’s figures are extremely positive and reflect the pro-active approach taken by our officers, special constables and community volunteers. Joining forces with our colleagues from the Fire and Rescue Service and IoM Coastguard has certainly helped to curb anti-social behaviour and ensure that problems experienced by residents were kept to a minimum. Youngsters and parents also deserve praise for heeding our advice and enjoying the Hop-tu-Naa and Bonfire Night celebrations in a responsible manner.’

Community fire safety officer Carl Kinvig added:

‘Our message seems to be getting through regarding fireworks, but we cannot afford to be complacent and will continue to work hard to promote the safety campaign in future.’

Fireworks over the Villa MarinaThe joint patrols followed licensing inspections carried out at retail premises and visits to the Island’s schools to highlight the dangers of fireworks. Office of Fair Trading Chairman Bill Henderson said:

‘OFT staff have worked well with the Police and Fire Service. This initiative shows what can be achieved by a positive, direct and pro-active approach – working as a team. I have given my full support to this and all credit to the staff involved. I will certainly be supporting this in the future and any other pro-active initiatives that assist our community.’

Incidents relating to Halloween trick or treating also fell sharply, with just 10 reports of youths throwing eggs at houses or vehicles. Seven complaints were reported to the Douglas and Eastern NPTs, while two incidents occurred in the south and one in the north.

Acting Sergeant Rosie Hawes of the Eastern NPT, said:

‘The figures represent a 50 per cent fall from last year which is great news for all concerned. Youngsters have generally behaved very well this year, while parents and shopkeepers have also played their part in helping to reduce the number of complaints.’

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