Parents warned to have 'frank conversation' with children by police to avoid Bonfire Night violence

In 2017 a female police officer was injured during violence in Edinburgh on 5 November.

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 12:30 pm

Police Scotland are warning parents to have a "frank conversation" with their children to help avoid violence over Bonfire Night.

The warning comes alongside the relaunch of 'Operation Moonbeam' which aims to avoid a repeat of violent scenes in 2017 which left a female police officer with "serious burns" after she was hit with a firework.

The operation, which was initially launched in 2018, was a response to high levels of damage and violence during Bonfire Night two years ago.

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Damage to a car following violence in 2017 on Bonfire Night

Police say the operation led to "significantly lower" levels of violence last year.

Assistant Chief Constable Kenny MacDonald said: "We know that the Halloween and Bonfire Night weekend is one of the busiest in the calendar, not only for police, but all emergency services, and Operation Moonbeam was launched to provide an appropriate response to any disorder that occurs and ensure our communities, officers and partners remain safe.

"However, dedicating greater police resource during this weekend does not solve the issues we see arising each year, and we are mindful of that."

'There is a parental responsibility'

Fireworks in Linlithgow

Specially-trained officers will be made available to commanders in Edinburgh alongside a large number of local officers already deployed for Bonfire Night and Halloween.

However Mr MacDonald warned parents that they are also responsible for warning their children to avoid illegal activity.

he added: "Significant time and effort has already been put into engagement and education of young people through our School Link Officers and representatives from the other emergency services. However, there is a parental responsibility, which cannot be overlooked.

"I want everyone who has guardianship of young people to have a frank conversation with them about the consequences associated with getting involved with violence and disorder. I would also like to remind people of the potential consequences and dangers associated with fireworks.

"Not only does this unacceptable behaviour put themselves and others at risk, it will result in a criminal record when they are caught.

"Please help us keep the Halloween and Bonfire night celebrations fun and enjoyable for everyone."

Attacks 'completely unacceptable'

Two years ago a female police officer was left with "serious burns" after a firework was thrown at her during Bonfire Night.

The attack led to 11 people being charged for the disorder.

Assistant Chief Officer John Dickie from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable and I am sure the public would be outraged by incidents where emergency service workers have been targeted while working to protect people and property.

“For us, this type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion but can also impact on our emergency service colleagues who may have to support us.

“This cannot be condoned.

“We will work to identify those responsible and we will pass that intelligence to our police partners which can result in a variety of consequences."