Wiltshire Police are encouraging young people to be safe and respect others this Halloween.

Parents and carers have an important role to play to help keep children and young people safe on Wednesday, October 31, and encourage them to act responsibly when they’re taking part in ‘Trick or Treating.’

Richard Palusinski, Head of Community Safety at Swindon Community Safety Partnership, said: “Halloween has always been a fun time for young people. The important thing is in having fun people should not have a negative effect on others.  We want to continue the downward trend in anti-social behaviour at this time of year and by being aware of the impact you can have on others you can avoid causing distress to people in the community and reduce the likelihood of getting drawn into anti-social activities.

"Working together with partner agencies including Neighbourhood Policing Teams and the Council's Anti-social Behaviour Team, we have plans in place to help tackle anti-social behaviour, which include liaising with key members of local communities and increasing patrols in targeted areas.”

Supt Matt Pullen Head of Local Policing South said: “We understand that Halloween is an exciting tradition for young people and we’re not trying to spoil their fun. We want to continue the downward trend in anti-social behaviour at this time of year and by following some simple advice young people can minimise any distress they cause and reduce the likelihood of them being drawn into anti-social activities.”

“Anyone who engages in anti-social behaviour should be warned that it will not be tolerated. We will be increasing patrols on the night and the consequences of engaging in such activities could be serious.”

Help keep Halloween an enjoyable and safe time for you and your family by following the simple Halloween code below:

<li>Always ‘Trick and Treat’ with an adult

<li>Parents/carers should ensure their children act sensibly

<li>Only visit a house where you, or the people you are with, know  the occupants

<li>Do not knock on doors where there is a sign saying ‘Sorry no trick or treat here please’

<li>Stay in areas that are well lit with street lights. Take a torch with you just in case

<li>Stay with the people you are with - do not go off on your own

<li>Do not talk to strangers on the street

<li>Do not enter any house – stay on the door step

<li>Be careful not to frighten vulnerable people, especially the elderly

<li>Look carefully before crossing the road

<li>Don’t vandalise anything or throw things like eggs and flour. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated and you could end up getting into trouble with the police.  Many people don’t realise that by throwing eggs and flour at someone’s property, they may be causing criminal damage - an offence which can result in a three month jail sentence or a fine of up to £2,500

<li>Young people who repeatedly disturb residents by door knocking are committing an offence under the Town and Police Clauses Act, which can carry a jail sentence of up to 14 days or a fine of up to £1,000.  Targeting an individual with such objects can lead to a charge of assault, regardless of whether the objects make contact.

<li>Penalty Notices for disorder can also be issued which carry a fine of up to £80. Penalising offenders on the spot makes it more straightforward for officers and enables a faster response in tackling anti-social behaviour before it escalates

<li>Unexpected callers at the door can cause distress for some people, particularly the elderly.  For people who do not want to receive ‘Trick or Treat’ callers a poster has been produced displaying in large font ‘Sorry, no trick or treat here please.’  The poster should be displayed in a prominent position either on the front door or front window. The posters can be downloaded from our website.

Local Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) will also be distributing the posters throughout their communities. Contact your local NPT if you would like a poster. You can find details of your local NPT on the Wiltshire Police website