South Yorkshire Police launch annual operation for Halloween and Bonfire Night period

Supt Colin McFarlane
Supt Colin McFarlane

An annual police operation to tackle anti-social behaviour over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period has been launched in South Yorkshire.

Police and other agencies involved in Operation Dark Nights are urging young people to take part in organised activities to get them off the streets.

And, to avoid residents being contacted by trick or treating children over Halloween, posters have been produced for residents to display in their homes if they do not want uninvited people calling.

Superintendent Colin McFarlane, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer for anti-social behaviour, said: “Although it can be an enjoyable time for many, there are various aspects of the upcoming festivities which can lead to anti-social behaviour by a small minority of people.

“For that reason and, importantly, the safety of young people, we want to make sure they are provided with organised and safe activities to take part in.

“Committing anti-social behaviour can lead to fines, a criminal behaviour order and, ultimately, prison if any agreements are broken.

“Anti-social behaviour can be very distressing for the victim too and recent new powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act have given victims more control over how it is treated and, more specifically, the behaviour that is affecting them.

“Ultimately, we just want everyone who wants to celebrate these festivities to do so safely and not to the distress of others.”

Extra officers will be patrolling the streets over Halloween and Bonfire Night to try to deter troublemakers.

Traditionally there is an increase in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour over the period every year.

This year South Yorkshire Police are urging residents to think twice about calling the force.

Supt McFarlane said: “Please be aware that, during Halloween, and the nights running up to it, calls to police, especially in relation to anti-social behaviour, can be significantly higher than normal. This may increase call answering times.

“Do you really need to call the police? Calls for the service are generally higher around this time of year so please consider if it is the police you really need, and just how important is it.”