Riot police will be made available around Scotland in case trouble flares on Bonfire Night, while 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, who is in charge of Operation Moonbeam, said: “Divisional commanders will be given significant levels of specialist resource, including public order-trained officers, to supplement their local policing teams and help them address any issues that arise.
“The police alone cannot tackle anti-social behaviour and bonfire-related disorder.
“We are once again taking a tri-service approach with the other emergency services, aimed at not only responding successfully to reports of criminality, but preventing them in the first instance.”
He added: “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.
“Parents and guardians of young people also have a vital role to play and I would ask you all have very frank conversations with those in your care about the risks of getting involved in violence and disorder.”
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.”
Meanwhile, police in Glasgow seized 500 fireworks in a crackdown on the illegal sale of the pyrotechnics.
The fireworks were removed from premises in Albert Drive on Thursday in a joint operation with Glasgow City Council’s Trading Standards team.
Superintendent Gary I’Anson said: “We are committed to preserving public safety and I hope the fireworks seized in the south side of Glasgow demonstrates our commitment and sends a clear warning to traders not to break the law and put people’s lives at risk.”
An investigation into the seized devices is ongoing.
Neil Coltart, head of the Trading Standards team, said: “Right now there is a real risk of injury and loss of life through the misuse of fireworks.
“There are 73 premises with a licence to sell fireworks in Glasgow and we work closely with the police and fire and rescue to ensure that businesses comply with the law.
“We really need the public to be extra careful and, if buying fireworks, always make sure they have the CE mark, come with instructions and are labelled correctly.”
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