Police and partners are encouraging West Yorkshire residents to enjoy Bonfire Night safely at home this year
Police and partners are encouraging West Yorkshire residents to enjoy the upcoming Bonfire Night period safely at home this year.
As with many other organised events this year, Bonfire Night as we know it, will not be able to take place as formal events will not be held, due to the ongoing restrictions that are currently in place across West Yorkshire.
This week, it has been announced that as of Monday 2 November, West Yorkshire will be put into Tier 3 ‘Very High’ Covid Alert category. This means that households cannot mix in any indoor settings and social distancing measures are also still currently in place. Police are urging the public to enjoy the festivities at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
West Yorkshire Police, together with the fire service and local authorities are urging the public to stay safe during the Bonfire Night period and additional patrols will be conducted across the region to ensure everyone’s safety.
Last 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 protect and respect the emergency services who are working tirelessly to keep the communities safe.
Additional powers to tackle the misuse of fireworks in communities across Leeds has been granted by Leeds County Court this month.
As part of an injunction order, preventative and proactive measures will be available to both West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council to take action against any individual or group that is found to be using fireworks in an anti-social or threatening manner.
Chief Superintendent Damien Miller, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Typically, the Bonfire Night period is one of the busiest times of the year for all of the emergency services. However, this year, unlike any other year, the current restrictions in relation to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic will mean that formal events will not be able to take place.
“We urge people to continue to follow the new guidance and local lockdown restrictions which are in place across West Yorkshire and to avoid having bonfires in their gardens.
“Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to engage with the public regarding restrictions as they have evolved and this will remain our approach. Our officers will continue to focus on engaging, explaining and encouraging with enforcement where necessary.
“The dangerous use of fireworks and associated anti-social behaviour continues to impact on the lives of people in communities across West Yorkshire around the Bonfire Night period, despite the ongoing partnership work to tackle the issue.
“Those responsible not only risk causing injury to others, as well as themselves, but they create an atmosphere on the streets where people can feel unsafe.
“Any anti-social and criminal behavior will not be tolerated and we need our communities to help us provide information about anyone involved in this potentially dangerous behaviour.
“We want people to enjoy the celebrations and above all have a safe and fun Bonfire night.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “Bonfire night is upon us, and as we all know this year it’ll be very different. Of course we want people to enjoy themselves albeit differently, but I would urge that everyone thinks of their neighbours and the community at large, as well as importantly, stays safe.
“Regrettably in previous years we have seen a handful of attacks on our emergency services which is something that will not be tolerated. Extra patrols will be in operation and members of the public should contact the police if they experience any anti-social behaviour.
“Guidance around Covid-19 can change rapidly, so please ensure you are keeping an eye on Government announcements and the local guidance on the .Gov.uk website. But most of all, stay safe.”
Area Manager for Fire Prevention at WYFRS, Scott Donegan, said: “We know that things feel a little different this year with many large, organised events cancelled and people looking to celebrate in their own way.
“We want to encourage everyone to stay safe this Bonfire Night, and think of others at the same time - having a bonfire at home carries the risk not only of personal injury but also of a fire spreading to your or your neighbours’ home which would be devastating for people to contend with at this time alongside the pressures that Coronavirus is already bringing to our doors.
“We’re not trying to ruin anyone’s fun and we understand it’s difficult, but we must pull together to keep us all safe during these different times.”
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.
For more information and advice via Twitter, search #WYBonfire or follow West Yorkshire Police @WestYorksPolice and West Yorkshire Police Customer Contact Centre @WYP_CCC.