Bonfire Night patrols in Portsmouth

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Bonfire Night patrols will be mounted in Portsmouth tonight.

The Safer Portsmouth Partnership says it will put a special plan into action to make sure the evening stays safe and fun.

Police, fire and council officers will work together to tackle anti-social behaviour and unsafe bonfires.

They will form a special bonfire assessment team (BAT), involving police, firefighters, council community wardens and Colas, the council’s highways contractor.

The BAT will be the first response to reports of bonfires and will call in a fire engine if needed.

Mark Larrimore, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Southsea station commander, said: “The team will be sympathetic to the celebration period and will let people have their fun and not insist that all fires are extinguished. However, in the past some bonfires have got out of control. If they carry a risk to life or property or affect nearby residents then we will have to step in.”

Gerry McDougall, anti-social behaviour co-ordinator at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Using the BAT isn’t about stopping people from having a good time. It’s to ensure they can celebrate the season in the way it should be celebrated – safely.”

Partnerships Inspector Chris White said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for Hampshire Constabulary and police officers will be targeting hotspot areas during Halloween and Bonfire Night to ensure that people are respecting others in their local neighbourhood.”

Police say that in an emergency, or if they are concerned about a bonfire, residents should dial 999.

To report an incident that needs police attention but is not an emergency, residents should dial 101.

Halloween advice

Halloween is a great time for family fun, but if you really don’t want to be disturbed by trick-or-treaters, you can put up a “No trick or treat” sign. Search no trick or treat at www.hampshire.police.uk to find a poster to print out.

Firework safety tips

Never use petrol or similar to light or fuel a fire.

Follow instructions carefully.

Put sparklers in a bucket of water or sand when they’ve gone out. They burn five times hotter than cooking oil so treat them with care.

Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.

Never give sparklers to a child under five.

Make sure pets are kept indoors.

Supervise young children.

Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11pm