Operation Fawkes ensures safety on bonfire night

The Aberdeen Community Safety Partnership has completed preparations for one of its busiest nights of the year.

Agencies involved in the Community Safety Partnership initiative, known as Operation Fawkes, have been working together to reduce the opportunity for anti-social behaviour and wilful fire-raising around bonfire night.

In the week leading to November 5th Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have been visiting local schools to deliver talks to raise awareness about the dangers of fireworks and explain the challenges emergency services encounter on bonfire night.

Denis Law Street Sport has increased the number of free sports and creative activity sessions that it delivers in local communities. The aim is to engage young people with sports to reduce boredom and the temptation of anti-social activity.

Aberdeen City Council’s Trading Standards team is visiting the 21 retailers in the city that are licensed to sell fireworks to ensure that the fireworks conform to safety regulations and are stored correctly. In addition, retailers are being reminded of new legislation which states that it is an offence to supply fireworks, either for payment or given freely, to anyone under the age of 18.

Patrols have also been undertaken to identify and remove waste from commercial properties within Aberdeen in a bid to reduce the risk of willful fire-raising during bonfire night. In addition to this the Council’s waste team will be out collecting large items that have been left outside properties including flats, schools and community centres. The team will also uplift items from multi-storey bin rooms across the city.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, who is chair of Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership, said: “Feedback has shown that anti-social behaviour is one of the biggest concerns for people living in Aberdeen so it is great to see that the Community Safety Partnership has a clear focus to tackle these problems.

“Working in partnership with other agencies gives us the opportunity to act as a team to keep Aberdeen safe from harm while making the best use of our resources and knowledge.

“The Community Safety Partnership is committed to keeping our communities safe and while we want everyone to have an enjoyable night we would also ask residents to stay safe on bonfire night by attending Aberdeen City Council’s Fireworks Spectacular at Aberdeen Beach and to demonstrate consideration for others.”

Sergeant Scott Deans, stationed at Police Scotland’s Mastrick base, said: "I am delighted to be involved with Operation Fawkes this year; working with the Community Safety Partnership has provided more deployable resources. With the assistance of School Liaison Officers and the means to use Police and partner CCTV our ability to identify and prosecute offenders will be enhanced.

"Organised firework displays provide the safest format to view and enjoy fireworks; the impromptu setting and use of fireworks in public areas can be dangerous to users or those nearby. Legislation is in place to protect the public in relation to associated offences and will be enforced robustly. I would urge anyone to report those involved in antisocial behaviour, particularly around bonfire night."

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Gordon Riddel said: “Unauthorised bonfires needlessly take up our crews’ time and put others with genuine emergencies at risk.

“Organised events such as the fireworks display hosted by Aberdeen City Council at Queen’s Links, will be far more spectacular than putting on your own display and crucially safer for you, your family and friends. We want everyone to be able to celebrate the 5th November safely and in a way that doesn’t require the intervention of the emergency services”.

“I would urge any member of the public who sees someone starting an unauthorised bonfire to contact Crimestoppers. Together we can help each other stay safe this bonfire night”.

Between Friday (4 November) and Saturday (5 November), Police Scotland will carry out additional patrols in conjunction with Operation Fawkes to tackle anti-social behaviour and disorder associated with Bonfire Night.

The operation will be intelligence led and target areas which have previously experienced high levels of these types of incidents in recent years. It is planned along with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and other partner agencies.

During Bonfire night the dedicated units will respond to associated incidents and will assist the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service when required.