Emergency services have thanked the majority of the community for enjoying Halloween and Bonfire Night safely - despite a minority who carried out attacks on police and fire officers and emergency service vehicles.
Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said today that the vast majority of the county’s residents behaved themselves throughout both periods and followed vital advice given to stay safe. However, there were some incidents of disorder and criminal damage where positive and robust action was taken by police officers to arrest offenders and issue dispersal notices.
There were also assaults on police officers around Halloween reported in Hough Green, Widnes, where a police officer was pushed over and in Middlewich an officer was head-butted by a suspect in custody.
Superintendent Richard Rees said: “We recognise this can be a busy time of year and we can see an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour and disorder. However, I’m pleased to say the majority of the county did celebrate and enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night safely and calmly.
“Although there was an increase in demand for our services, our close work with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service ensured that the celebrations ran as safely and smoothly as possible and, where necessary, we increased the number of officers on patrol to allow us to respond to incidents more effectively.
“I want to reassure the public that we do recognise the distress caused to victims who have been affected by any criminal disorder during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, and we will thoroughly investigate those incidents that have been reported to us.”
“Having a heightened police presence during the Halloween period is essential, and it provides an important reassurance to our county’s residents”, said Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane.
“So we’re pleased that, for many, Halloween in Cheshire enjoyed in the true spirit it should be this year. More and more, Halloween is a family celebration, so it’s important we don’t allow it to be hijacked by people with other intentions. Having a visible deterrent in every Ward in Cheshire and Warrington remains incredibly important.
“Obviously any act of anti-social behavior against the community or our dedicated team of officers is simply not acceptable and I’d personally commend anyone who comes forward to give us information and support to help prosecute those responsible for these incidents. I’d personally like to thank the officers – and our partners in Cheshire Fire and Rescue – who worked incredibly hard during what is a very busy time for our emergency services. They play a vital role in protecting our communities.”
Firefighters were also targeted over the bonfire period in Winsford by youths who threw stones at them, and in Widnes and Runcorn the crews were targeted and fireworks were thrown at them.
Arson Reduction Manager for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Colin Heyes was on duty over the weekend and based himself at North West Fire Control to monitor bonfire activity.
He said: “Targeting firefighters when they are doing their job is simply not acceptable. Apart from these two incidents the period went well. Looking at the figures, it appears that we were not as busy as in previous years, so I would like to thank everyone who took our advice and went to an organised display. This advice clearly helped to keep the figures down but more importantly kept everyone safe."
Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority Cllr Bob Rudd also attended North West Fire Control over the weekend.
He said: "Both firefighters and control staff did a brilliant job protecting people and their property during this time. Prior to Bonfire Night itself we worked with partner agencies to target problem areas where previous deliberate and nuisance fires usually occur, which worked to keep the deliberate and arson fires down.”
Anyone with any information relating to the assault on police officers or firefighters or damage to police and fire vehicles are asked to call 101 in confidence on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
See full story in the Chester Leader