Riot police on standby to deal with Bonfire Night trouble

Operation Moonbeam is Police Scotland's annual response to violence and anti-social behaviour around November 5.

Riot police on standby to deal with Bonfire Night trouble Getty Images

Riot police will be made available around Scotland in case trouble flares on Bonfire Night.

And parents have been urged to have “very frank” conversation with their children about the dangers of fireworks.

Police Scotland said they would not be “complacent” about the risk of disorder around November 5, despite coronavirus restrictions meaning there are likely to be fewer people outdoors.

The force is launching Operation Moonbeam, an annual response to violence and anti-social behaviour around Bonfire Night.

Senior officers say the operation has reduced criminal activity since 2017, when there was significant violence and disorder.

Public fireworks displays have been cancelled this year.

Assistant chief constable Tim Mairs, gold commander for Operation Moonbeam, said: “Typically, the Bonfire Night weekend, and surrounding days, are extremely busy for police and other emergency services.

“While the cancellation of public bonfire displays and the coronavirus restrictions in place is likely to result in a slight reduction in the number of people out and about, we cannot be complacent in terms of preserving public safety.

“We have been engaging with young people extensively through our school inputs to highlight the risks associated with reckless behaviour involving fireworks and of course, alcohol.”

A joint campaign launched last week – by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Scotland, and the Scottish SPCA – warned about the dangers of private firework displays this year amid the cancellation of many public events due to Covid-19.

Police attended a large-scale disturbance in the Kirkton area of Dundee on Saturday night, where a crowd of around 100 youths aimed lit fireworks at officers.

Community safety minister Ash Denham said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night this year are going to feel very different and at this usual time for celebration I urge everyone to follow the rules on meeting up with other households to help stop the spread of the virus.

“We know that some people may consider setting off fireworks in their back-gardens, if you do plan on using fireworks this Bonfire Night please do so responsibly and safely.”

The fire service also urged people to take care with fireworks.

Alasdair Perry, head of prevention at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “With many public events cancelled due to Covid-19, we know people may consider hosting their own firework events.

“But we want to highlight that the private use of fireworks can be dangerous – and that children are particularly at risk.

“We are therefore strongly encouraging anyone who does wish to host a private event to reduce the risk by ensuring to familiarise themselves with our fireworks code and fire safety guidance.

“Do not take risks because the consequences can be devastating.”

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