One of Scotland’s top police officers has warned that every part of the law will be used to deal with bad behaviour on Bonfire Night, with specialist teams available for backup if incidents get out of hand.
Police Scotland said on Wednesday anyone buying fireworks for youngsters could be fined, sent to prison, or both, and there were now tougher laws in place to deal with people who attack emergency workers.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, Operation Moonbeam’s gold commander, issued a warning to those who cause trouble on November 5.
“A range of highly trained public order officers will be available to policing commanders across Scotland to enhance their resources and deal with any issues that arise, as well as to reassure communities that we remain committed to keeping them safe over Bonfire Night,” he said.
Operation Moonbeam was set up in 2018 after a year of disorder and antisocial behaviour, and since it was launched Police Scotland said the number of fireworks-related incidents had fallen.
Earlier this month it became an offence to buy or attempt to buy fireworks for anyone under the age of 18, in the same way as it was illegal for adults to buy children cigarettes and alcohol.
Anyone breaking the law could be fined as much as £5,000, handed a six-month prison term, or both, Police Scotland said.
Mr Mairs urged people not to risk the punishment, and said: “The introduction of the proxy-purchasing offence helps us limit the access young people have to fireworks and gives us more powers of enforcement for those who choose not to obey the law.”
As well as tighter laws for buying fireworks, the Scottish Government also introduced rules which make a firework attack on ambulance, police and fire crews an aggravating factor which can be taken into account in sentence hearings.
“The new aggravator for attacks on emergency service workers is a welcome addition to existing legislation and ensures those responsible receive the severest punishments for their actions,” the Assistant Chief Constable said.
“The Chief Constable has repeatedly stated that violence and abuse are not part of the job of a police officer and we will treat any such attacks with the utmost seriousness.”