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Hallowe'en success for police
4:03pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
WET weather failed to dampen the spirit of "trick and treaters" as Avon and Somerset once again enjoyed a fun-packed Halloween.
For the third successive year, the number of 999 calls to the police fell below the 1000 mark and calls to the non emergency 101 service also remained below the 1000 barrier, making it the quietest "fright night" ever in Avon and Somerset. Between 4.30pm last night and 2.30am this morning (Thursday November 1) just 332 999 calls were recorded, compared with 475 calls last year, which was itself a reduction on the 571 received in 2010.
Year-on-year since 2007 there has been a reduction in the number of calls recorded. On what has traditionally been one of the busiest nights of the year for the police in Avon and Somerset (more than 1900 999 calls were recorded in 2007) there has been a gradual decrease in 999 calls.
During the evening there were isolated incidents across the force area – minor incidents involving fireworks, eggs and flour and some anti social behaviour. High profile anti social behaviour patrols were held and no arrests were made.
Similarly, the number of non emergency calls via the force 101 number also dropped below the 1000 barrier for the third successive year. Last night 668 calls were recorded between 4.30pm and 2.30am, a significant reduction on last year's 844 calls. In 2006 almost 2800 non emergency calls were logged by the force's communications team for the same period.
Police followed the approach of recent years in the weeks leading up to Halloween, with high profile publicity and partnership work with schools and retailers, as well as working with young people in schools and youth clubs.
They highlighted how low level anti social egg and flour throwing incidents can cause distress to the vulnerable and elderly.
And last night this was bolstered by the rolling out of well-rehearsed plans – responding to distressed community members swiftly but also providing high visibility patrols across the force area to provide additional reassurance.
Additionally extra staff were drafted into the Portishead police headquarters to deal with any increase in 999 and non emergency 101 calls. More than 98 per cent of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds.
And to provide further reassurance to those calling for police help, a special "call-back" system was set up for victims, ensuring that those that require it, receive a reassurance call back.
Guidance and advice was also posted on the police website and messages tweeted and issued via Facebook to maximise the arrangements for the Halloween evening.
Chief Inspector Andy Bennett, silver commander for the Halloween operation, said: "Obviously the wet weather deterred a lot of people from going out to trick and treat but some people took on board our advice and braved the elements to enjoy All Hallows Eve.
"Our aim was to ensure people had an enjoyable time, providing support and reassurance to our vulnerable and elderly members of the community, while at the same time cracking down on the isolated incidents of anti social behaviour – egg and flour throwing and firework incidents.
"There were a small minority of people who tried to cause problems during the evening but these turned out to be isolated incidents which were dealt with quickly and effectively. There were no arrests for Halloween-related anti social behaviour," confirmed CI Bennett.
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