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30 October 2010, 06:00
You might see more police officers out this weekend.
Suffolk and Norfolk forces are putting on extra patroles for Halloween to make sure people trick or treating don't cause trouble.
Norfolk Police say officers will be working with people, partner agencies and local businesses to ensure that celebrations are enjoyed by all.
Additional officers will be on duty for what can be one of the busiest weekends for policing calendar.
Inspector Russell Wilkinson from Community Safety said: "We want everyone to have and enjoyable Halloween and understand that going trick or treating is an exciting tradition for youngsters. However, Halloween can be a distressing time of year for some vulnerable members of the community and we would ask trick or treaters to respect the wishes of those who choose not to mark the occasion."
They gave the the following safety tips to young people who intend to go trick or treating:
· Never go trick or treating alone or split up from your friends.
· Always check with your parents or carer first.
· Only go to houses where you or your friends know who lives there.
· Don’t go into any house - stay on the doorstep.
· Don’t talk to strangers on the street.
· Stay in well-lit areas and carry a torch.
· Take care when crossing roads - it may be hard to see so well in a costume.
· Although Halloween is about looking spooky, be careful not to frighten the elderly.
· Eggs & flour make a mess & most shops won’t sell them to under 16s over Halloween.
A free ‘Trick or treaters welcome’ poster is available for people who are happy to be called on by trick or treaters on October 31 to display in a window or on their front door.
The free poster is available for download at www.norfolk.police.uk or alternatively cut out the poster from this newsletter/magazine and place it on your window on 31 October.
Meanwhile, in Suffolk, trick or treaters are being urged by police to take a responsible attitude to Halloween this year and ensure that it is a happy and safe time for everyone.
Leading up to Halloween officers from local Safer Neighbourhood Teams have been visiting schools with the aim of educating school children on how to behave responsibly within the community. They have also been working with retailers, encouraging them to display posters stating that flour and eggs will not be sold to under-16's who are not accompanied by an adult in the run up to Halloween.
Halloween celebrations can often involve young people taking part in trick or treat actvities. Unfortunately, in previous years this has involved a minority of youngsters throwing eggs and flour at houses or people after the occupants decline to give them a treat.
Police are warning trick or treaters that the damage caused by egg throwing will be treated as criminal damage and those caught throwing eggs will be prosecuted. If they are found guilty this will result in a criminal record.
A second poster produced by Suffolk police asks parents to think about the safety of their children and asks if they would normally let their children call on a stranger’s home unsupervised. These posters will be put up around the county and have been widely distributed to schools and businesses.
Finally, as with previous years, a poster has been produced for those people who do not want to take part in the celebrations to put in their window. It states, "The occupants of this house kindly ask you not to call on Halloween. Please respect our wishes." Copies of this poster can be collected from local police stations, or can be printed via the Suffolk Police website at www.suffolk.police.uk under the Crime Reduction section or the Suffolk Police Facebook site at www.facebook.com/suffolkpolice.
Chief Inspector Kerry Pauling said:
"We are not trying to spoil the fun of Halloween but we would like trick or treaters to recognise that some people, particularly elderly or vulnerable, might be distressed by strangers knocking at their door during the evening. So we are asking people not to call at houses displaying one of the posters.
Extra patrols will be in place throughout the county with the primary aim being to make sure that the evening is peaceful and the number of disturbances are kept to a minimum. We want to ensure that Halloween is a happy and safe time for everyone, whether young or old. Therefore, not only are we appealing to the younger members of the community to act responsible but also to the general public to be a little more tolerant of the high spirits of people celebrating the event."
Suffolk Constabulary have also offered tips to help people:
· Always be accompanied by an adult when you are
· Only go to houses of people that you know and who are happy for
you to call.
· Stay safe, keep to places that you know and are well lit. Do not
take short cuts through gardens, alleyways or parks.
· Watch out for traffic - drivers might not see you.
· If you are wearing a mask, make sure that you can see where you
are going and are aware of your surroundings.
Suffolk Police are urging people to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour on the run up to Halloween to the police on 01473 613500.