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Darker nights message from Vera Baird QC

21st October 2016

Northumbria Police has teamed up with community safety partners in Sunderland and South Tyneside to help keep residents safer during the darker nights.

As the nights start to draw in, and with the date for the end of British Summer Time looming, community safety partners want to make sure local communities feel safe and reassured.

During the darker nights there can often by a rise in some types of crime – in particular wheelie bin thefts – and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

However, contrary to historic statistics anti-social behaviour actually fell across both borough’s last year when compared with previous year’s and police hope to see a similar pattern this year.

To help police have once again teamed up with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and both local authorities – Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council – as part of the Darker Nights campaign aimed at keeping residents safe in the run up and during Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Patrols will be carried out to offer reassurance to local residents and keep crime and anti-social behaviour to a minimum. Leaflets reminding residents not to leave their wheelie bin in the street overnight will also be delivered across both areas.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Vera Baird QC, said: “We want everyone taking part in Halloween or Bonfire celebrations to enjoy themselves but it’s important that people do so safely and take responsibility for themselves and others. People must be mindful that these occasions can cause distress and fear among the most vulnerable in our communities and can involve anti-social behaviour, that is why I welcome this partnership work in the run-up to such events to try and combat any incidents and ensure local residents feel safe.”

Superintendent Sarah Pitt added: “Unfortunately, in the run up to bonfire night we do see a rise in the number of wheelie bins that get stolen which are then often set on fire and obviously this has the potential for serious consequences. I would ask people don’t leave their bin out in the street, particularly overnight, try and take it in as soon after it has been emptied and make sure it is stored somewhere secure.”

The force’s volunteers will also be supporting the Darker Nights campaign with Volunteer Police Cadets helping to distribute leaflets and issuing crime prevention advice.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, Councillor Harry Trueman said: “This annual campaign is a great way of us all working together to remind people of some important  community safety messages as the nights  become longer and darker.

“The cover of darkness might encourage some people towards anti-social behaviour, but  if we all take extra care with things like taking in our wheelie bins and  looking out for people acting suspiciously we can help prevent that from becoming a problem.

“I hope that the increased patrols and public awareness will help us repeat the success of last year’s campaign in actually reducing  figures for  anti-social at this time of year, as we all prepare to enjoy community celebrations like Halloween and Bonfire Night when traditionally more people are out and about at night.”

South Tyneside Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “It is excellent news that this campaign has been able to reduce the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“This partnership approach is clearly paying dividends for all our residents by offering activities, advice and reassurance. From diversionary activities for our young people to advice on the safe sale and storage of fireworks to additional patrols in hot-spot areas, this campaign is making a real difference in our communities.”

To find out more about policing in Sunderland and South Tyneside follow @NPSunderland and @NPSouthTyneside or visit our facebook pages – Northumbria Police Southern Area Command.