Operation Treacle, a joint initiative to tackle antisocial behaviour* and criminal damage across Greater Manchester over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, has been hailed a success by police.
Provisional figures for the period 3 September – 7 November 2012, when compared to a similar period in 2011 (5 September – 6 November), show 1,423 fewer incidents of antisocial behaviour, a seven per cent drop, 816 fewer incidents of firework-related antisocial behaviour, a 36 per cent reduction, and 1,170 fewer criminal damage incidents, an 18 per cent drop.
The annual Treacle campaign highlights the dangers and possible consequences of antisocial behaviour, criminal damage and misuse of fireworks, and sees police working closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, local authorities, the Health and Safety Executive and Transport for Greater Manchester.
Among the tactics employed by police were frequent patrols to deter potential troublemakers, alcohol confiscations, test purchasing at licensed premises and prosecution of adults who bought alcohol for young people.
In addition, checks were carried out with trading standards to ensure that regulations relating to the sale and use of fireworks were observed, and police visited schools with fire officers to warn pupils about the dangers of playing with fireworks, deliberately starting fires and making hoax calls to the emergency services.
To raise awareness of the campaign further, the safe4autumn.com website was heavily promoted to ensure that people knew where to access safety information or posters to either welcome or deter trick or treaters. Roadshows were also run in some areas where advice on firework safety and crime prevention was given.
Chief Inspector Leon Jacobs, Greater Manchester Police’s lead on Treacle, said: “We often see a spike in antisocial behaviour during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, and to see reductions of this scale suggests that our tactics are proving to be effective. Although these are not the final figures, they are very encouraging nonetheless, and I am confident that we can make further reductions by continuing to work closely with the fire service, local authorities and other agencies as part of Treacle.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly said: “The figures are extremely heartening and encouraging and they demonstrate the benefits of all agencies coming together in one campaign to tackle antisocial behaviour around the Hallowe’en and Bonfire period.
“It’s not the first year that Treacle has shown positive results and although it is sure to get more challenging in the years ahead, these results emphasise the importance of positive working across all agencies across Greater Manchester.”
* Note: The definition of antisocial behaviour for the purposes of Operation Treacle includes incidents of street drinking, hoax calls to police, noise, nuisance behaviour related to fireworks, rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour and nuisance behaviour by neighbours.