Public praised for enjoying safe Bonfire Night celebrations

Police and partners in Aberdeen have praised the public for enjoying the Bonfire Night celebrations in a safe and responsible manner, with reported incidents down by 18% on last year.

Denis Law and RGU Streetsport co-ordinator Mark Williams.The Aberdeen Community Safety Partnership activities were focused on areas where a high number of calls had been received in the past and where issues could be predicted.

The work which involved Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Aberdeen City Council and Denis Law Legacy Trust’s Streetsport, which is based at RGU Sport, was coordinated and carried out to deter antisocial behaviour and minimise the impact on the community.

Police have seen calls drop as a result of this targeted activity in recent years, this year seeing a further 39% drop in calls when compared to the three year average over the target period, from 2 to 6th November.

Chief Inspector Kevin Wallace said: "It is positive to see that the majority of people have refrained from holding their own unofficial bonfires and have attended the fantastic organised events on offer in Aberdeen. There has been very little anti-social behaviour and I would thank the public for enjoying the celebrations in a safe and responsible manner.

"Working closely within the Community Safety Partnership, using dedicated patrols and indeed having officers stationed at the city's Fire Stations and attending calls with a fire officer has all assisted to minimise the impact.  We will continue to learn from this work and look to build on it."

Diversionary activities were also held in communities with The RGU born Denis Law Legacy Trust’s Streetsport managing 18 sessions including those in Torry, Northfield and Garthdee in which over 280 young people participated in, across 42.5 hours of supported activities.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager Gordon Riddel attributed the reduction in incidents to the multi-agency partnership work carried out in the lead up to Bonfire Night.

He said: "Streetsport RGU have been incredible by providing a range of diversionary activities in the lead up to bonfire night. Our partnership with RGU’s Streetsport programme goes from strength to strength and their interaction with the young people really helps reduce wilful fire-raising.

"We were delighted to see communities following our advice to attend organised displays, rather than holding their own bonfires, which undoubtedly contributed to the success.

“SFRS work hard with our partners and communities in the lead up to Bonfire Night every year and we are beginning to see the positive impact of that work. We would like to thank the public for their fantastic support.”

Mark Williams, Streetsport Development Officer said: "Denis Law's Streetsport has provided continued support to the rescue services over the last three years and in 2015 provided more coverage than ever before, with over 40 hours of activities.

“The support from RGU is huge and the belief in the programme by the university helps us expand our reach each year across Aberdeen.”

With more the 6,000 participations since February 2015, Streetsport is reaching heights not before seen and is a great example of RGU working within the communities of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council also provided assistance in helping minimise the opportunity of wilful fire-raising taking place.

The council's wardens raised awareness within communities around the hazards of rubbish left lying and also around the security of commercial and domestic wheelie bins.

Council refuse teams ensured the removal of combustible items and through the local authority's efforts, the opportunity for bonfires to be set was reduced.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure vice convener Councillor Gordon Graham said: “It is a positive move that incidents are down 18% compared to last year, and shows how good partnership working can make a difference to help keep our communities safe in our city."

Posted by
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport