West Yorkshire Police and the PCC urge the public to stay safe this Halloween
22 October 2020
West Yorkshire Police is urging the public to stay safe this Halloween amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
This year, many Halloween traditions such as trick or treating are to be avoided due to restrictions that are currently in place across all of the county of West Yorkshire.
Following on from Government guidance, West Yorkshire was put into Tier 2 ‘High’ Covid Alert category, mixing of households and social distancing measures are currently in place, and police are urging the public to enjoy the festivities at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
This month, West Yorkshire Police charged 13 people in connection with disorder in the Harehills area last year around this period, and a number of police officers were injured as a result of the violent disorder. Officers are urging people to be safe and respect the emergency services who are working tirelessly to keep the communities safe.
In addition, additional powers have been granted to Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police to tackle the misuse of fireworks in communities across Leeds. The injunction order secured both preventative and proactive measures to take action against any group or individual using fireworks in an anti-social manner.
Chief Superintendent Damien Miller, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This year, unlike any other, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, this period around Halloween and Bonfire Night will be different than ever before.
“We do want people to enjoy themselves, but now as the whole of West Yorkshire has been placed in the ‘High’ Covid alert level, the usual festivities will not be possible and we are urging everyone to play their part and follow the guidance.
“This year, trick or treating is not encouraged, but there are lots of activities families can do at home and to keep them safe.”
Typically this time of year tends to be the busiest period of the year for the police and last year West Yorkshire Police received nearly 1,800 999 calls on 31 October, and just over 4,000 contacts overall.
Ch Supt Miller added: “We will have an increased neighbourhood policing presence across all five Districts in West Yorkshire, to offer reassurance, particularly to vulnerable residents.
“If anyone is concerned for their safety or has witnessed anti-social or criminal behaviour then we would urge them to contact the police. We would ask members of the public to be mindful though of the increased demand on both our 999 and 101 call handlers and consider whether there is an online option available to them.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “It continues to be a very challenging time for everyone and we know Halloween and Bonfire Night can be a welcome distraction for many parents and children. Conversely, for those not taking part, they can be an added stress and cause for anxiety. Our aim is to ensure everyone enjoys (or ignores) these events in the safest manner possible during this Covid pandemic and adheres to the restrictions in place for West Yorkshire.
“As we all know things can change quite rapidly, so please ensure you are keeping an eye on Government announcements and the local guidance on the .Gov.uk website so you can keep up to date on Covid restrictions as well as guidance
“For anyone experiencing anti-social behaviour or clear breaches of the restrictions in place I would urge they contract West Yorkshire Police. But most of all, it continues to be about using common sense, thinking of others and following the local guidance so that we can all be as safe as possible, thank you.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the Police’s plea for people to act responsibly.
Area Manager Scott Donegan, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We know that things are different this year and for many, usual plans have had to change. I want to remind people that we must all continue to take care of ourselves and each other.
“If you are celebrating please be respectful of your neighbours and your community – remember, we’re all in this together. Please also remember that the handling of fireworks is best left to the professionals. Please don’t risk injury or having to call on the emergency services or NHS at a time when they are so desperately needed in fighting the pandemic.
“Take care of yourselves and each other, continue to follow the guidance given in the area that you live in and, as always, if you need us please call 999.”
Any incidents of anti-social behaviour can be reported online via the West Yorkshire Police website, please visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/contact-us
999 should always be used in an emergency, where there is a danger to life or crime in progress.