Good Guy returns to make borough safer at Halloween and Bonfire Night
The annual campaign that helps to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour during the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night is back with a bang.
Article date: 23 October 2023
The 'Be a Good Guy' campaign aims to make St Helens Borough a safe and welcoming place for all by preventing nuisance fires, anti-social behaviour and damage to the environment, educating people around the laws and consequences, and celebrating Halloween and Bonfire Night in the safest ways.
Halloween is an event that many residents look forward to, but for some the prospect of people knocking on their door all night is not an enjoyable one - especially for older or vulnerable people.
Residents are able to print off Halloween cards to indicate whether or not they are happy to participate in trick or treating, available online at http://safer.sthelens.gov.uk/pages/be-a-good-guy/celebrating-halloween-safely/.
Then it's Bonfire Night, which while an enjoyable celebration for many across the borough, comes with its own concerns for some residents and emergency services.
Crime reduction partner agencies including St Helens Borough Council, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), Merseyside Police and Torus will be working together to remove the source of unsafe nuisance fires from public land. Regular checks will also be made to alley gates in priority areas, to ensure wheelie bins cannot be a target for deliberate fires.
Local retailers will be discouraged from selling eggs and flour to young people in the days before Bonfire Night, while briefings have been shared with pubs and other venues with guidance on how to properly manage waste and to hold fireworks events safely.
Lighting any type of fire in a public place without the permission of the landowner is illegal and extremely dangerous. Fire can easily spread to nearby buildings, trees and fences and some combustible materials, such as plastics, rubber or painted materials produce fumes which are toxic to people once lit. Illegal bonfires also often fuel anti-social behaviour and fireworks misuse.
The safest way to enjoy Bonfire Night is to attend organised displays. The council has again partnered with St Helens RFC to host 'From the Ground Comes Light', a fantastic laser light and pyrotechnics display at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
While tickets for Bonfire Night's show on Sunday 5 November have sold out, tickets are still available for this year's extra display on Saturday 4 November. Book tickets online at https://www.eticketing.co.uk/saintsrlfc.
Other community-led displays are happening around the borough.
Councillor Mancyia Uddin, St Helens Council's Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: "We want everyone to enjoy the Halloween and Bonfire Night festivities as safely as possible, and with respect for our neighbours. By working with our community safety partners through Good Guy we're supporting our communities to be more resilient to crime and antisocial behaviour."
Mick Currin, Station Manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It's really important for us to work with our partners, including the council and Merseyside Police. By working together we can reduce the impact of the bonfire season on our community in St Helens Borough.
"Residents can be a really big help to us, by reporting fly-tipping to us or the council, avoiding putting out additional waste for collection and by not leaving bins and recycling containers out longer than necessary, all of which will help to reduce the anti-social behaviour and fire-setting that delays us getting to genuine incidents.
"We would encourage parents and guardians to know what their children are doing on the evenings running up to Bonfire Night, and for the minority of young people to realise the impact of their anti-social behaviour on the resources of emergency services and the wider community."
During the Bonfire period last year, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service removed 54 tonnes of materials from the streets of Merseyside that could have been used to start a fire, including wood, mattresses and rubbish.
This collection of bonfire waste is still available until Friday 3rd November.
Merseyside Police is urging the public to be cautious and to think again before holding a firework display at home, and instead encourage you to attend organised displays as they are controlled and safer which means less risk of people being injured or bonfires spreading out of control.
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess or use fireworks in a public place.
If for any reason there are reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage, Merseyside Police will not hesitate to issue Dispersal Zones.
Chief Inspector Duncan Swan said:
"As you will know Halloween and Bonfire Night are always a busy period for all the emergency services because of small of number of young people who tend to act in an anti-social and irresponsibly manner.
"Anyone involved in criminal behaviour could be arrested and receive a fine, a criminal record or even jail time. If your child is under 16 then you will be liable for payment of any such fine.
"We all have a part of to play to play so that everyone stays safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.
"I urge retailers not to sell items to children which can cause harm on others, and parents to ensure your child is behaving responsibly.
"No parent would want a knock on their door from a police officer informing them that their child has been arrested or, worse still, has been involved in a serious accident."
Report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires at https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/community-safety/bonfire-safety/report-an-unlit-bonfire/, by calling 0800 731 5958 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm) or via Merseyside Fire and Rescue social media pages.
Fly-tipped waste which can also be reported to the council for clearance at www.sthelens.gov.uk/flytipping.
Underage firework sales can be reported to Trading Standards by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the council's Contact Centre on 01744 676789.
Antisocial behaviour can be reported to Merseyside Police on the non-emergency 101 number, or via Facebook and Twitter at @MerPolCC. To report a crime, always contact 999 in an emergency.