Merseyside Police is encouraging young people, families and businesses to play their part in helping to keep their communities safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.
Officers will be patrolling local neighbourhoods to ensure people can enjoy the festivities in their area safely but Merseyside Police cannot do this alone.
Parents and guardians are also being asked to help by taking responsibility for their children’s whereabouts and actions and to be mindful of any neighbours who may be elderly or vulnerable and who might feel frightened or intimidated.
Shopkeepers are also being urged not to sell any items that could be misused to cause damage - such as eggs, flour and cans of shaving foam or spray paint.
The force has also designed a short video - aimed at schoolchildren and young people - entitled ‘Don’t Trick or Mistreat’ – which shows the consequences of antisocial behaviour and the people who may be affected by it.
The video, which will be shared on social media and with all local authorities, can be viewed at https://youtu.be/oiRBa13_aiU
Chief Inspector Chris Hitchell, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said: "This is always a fun time of year and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the organised events and activities safely.
"We know that antisocial behaviour is of concern to people, particularly those who are old and vulnerable, and I want to reiterate my message that we will take robust action against those found committing antisocial acts.
"We know the vast majority of young people have respect for other people and their property but we know the behaviour of some can go beyond fun.
"I want to make it clear that is not acceptable to throw things at people or their homes, commit criminal damage or abuse or intimidate people.
"My message is think about what you are doing and how you may make other people feel. How would you feel if a member of your own family was too frightened to leave their own home or walk down the street?
"The support of parents and guardians is vital at this time of year. They can minimise the risk by not letting children hang around the streets with nowhere to go and know who they are with and what they are doing, especially in the run up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
"Damage caused by used by Halloween ‘tricks’, such as throwing eggs and flour, or any objects at windows, doors, cars and people is a criminal offence.
"It is also illegal for those under the age of 18 to buy, carry, or use fireworks and under the Explosives Act of 1875 it is illegal to let off or throw a firework in a public place.
"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 fine.
"By taking some simple steps it could prevent that 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."
Station Manager Paul Kay, Arson Reduction Co-ordinator for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said: "Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service would like everyone to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night as safely as possible.
"We urge people to be careful of how they dress on Hallowe’en – some costumes bought in shops can be flammable so labels should be checked to see how fire resistant the costumes are.
"Costumes should not be used to genuinely frighten people, particularly those who may be elderly and vulnerable.
"Keep clear of all flames such as candles and lit pumpkins, which could cause burns or costumes to catch fire. Ideally, use battery-operated lights in pumpkins instead of candles.
"Never leave children alone with lit candles and make sure they are extinguished before leaving the room.
"If clothing does catch fire remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL; STOP where you are, do not run. DROP to the ground and lie down flat. ROLL over and over on the ground until the flames are out.
"Fireworks should be enjoyed at organised events as they provide safe, controlled displays in places that are suitable.
"We would encourage people to take advantage of organised events rather than risking the safety of themselves, their family and friends by using fireworks at home."
For information on activities happening over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period in Merseyside, visit: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/autumn-fun-2017
It is illegal for under 18s to buy fireworks, shops should refuse to sell to people under 18 and ask for proof of age if there is any doubt.
It is against the law to carry or use adult fireworks if you are under 18. An adult firework is any firework except a cap, cracker snap, novelty match, party popper, serpent, sparkler or throw down.
Under the Explosives Act of 1875, It is illegal to let off or throw a firework in a public place.
It is illegal to sell fireworks form unregistered/licensed premises.
Don't light fireworks after 11pm, or midnight on 5 November.
If anyone believes they have information about the illegal sale, use or possession of fireworks, please contact Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958 , Merseyside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Some Safety Advice for Young People
- Only trick or treat in your own neighbourhood and stick with an adult, if possible;
- Stay in well-lit areas where there are plenty of houses;
- Make sure an adult knows the area you plan to visit and what time you'll be back;
- Look out for 'no callers please' posters and respect your neighbours;
- Keep to pavements and trick or treat on one side of the street before crossing safely to the other side - don't criss-cross;
- Lock away any building materials if you’re having work done;
- If you have a wheelie bin avoid leaving it visible at the front of your home;
- Tidy away anything at the front of your home that could be used for an illegal bonfire;
- Don't cut through back alleys, parks or fields, and don't trick or treat too far from home
- Don't go alone - take an adult with you or stay in a group
- Wait to eat any treats until you get home so that an adult can check them
- Don’t allow children to leave the house with eggs or flour