Police Scotland launch operation for Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night period

Thursday October 26th 2023


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Police Scotland will be deploying Public Order officers in support of community policing teams throughout the Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night period.

Since 2018, specialist resources have supported local officers across the country as part of Operation Moonbeam, following significant disorder and antisocial behaviour in 2017, which saw members of the emergency services, including police officers, attacked.

In 2022, parts of the country were subjected to unacceptable levels of firework-related criminality, which caused considerable distress to communities and resulted in high-value damage to property.

In response to this, an enhanced level of Public Order resource is being deployed during Operation Moonbeam 2023 to provide further support and protection to police officers, other emergency service workers and the general public.

In October last year, new legislation was introduced under the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act. This legislation makes the proxy purchasing of fireworks for anyone under the age of 18 a criminal offence.

Those in breach of this legislation will be subject to a fine of £5,000, a six-month prison term, or both.

From this year, additional legislation under the Act has been introduced, which prohibits the carriage or use of a pyrotechnic article within a public place and allows officers to conduct stop and search activity on anyone they believe may be in possession of such items.

Operation Moonbeam was today launched at a joint event in Edinburgh, alongside Crimestoppers, who launched their own campaign encouraging the public to report any intelligence they have on potential emergency service attacks, and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs, Gold Commander for Operation Moonbeam, said: “The overwhelming majority of the public wish to enjoy Bonfire Night safely and responsibly, but it is a small minority who intentionally use the festivities to cause fear and alarm within our communities and commit acts of damage and violence.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that such reckless behaviour, including targeting my officers and other emergency service personnel will not be tolerated and we will use all the powers at our disposal to bring offenders to justice.

“Last year saw an escalation in incidents in specific parts of the country and we are increasing the level of public order resource available to communities this year to deter and respond to any offences.

“The new powers we have in relation to proxy purchasing and stop and search capabilities for anyone suspected to be in possession of pyrotechnics in a public place are yet another tool at our disposal to address fireworks-related crime.

“We want Bonfire Night to be a safe and enjoyable experience for anyone who choses to participate in it and a peaceful occasion for those who don’t. Please help us achieve this by ensuring your behaviour does not put yourself or others at risk.”

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