Community Safety partners have thanked residents for supporting the annual Be the Good Guy campaign, which aims to reduce antisocial behaviour, firework nuisance and dangerous fire setting during the bonfire period.
The partnership includes St Helens Council, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS), Merseyside Police, Helena Partnerships and Riverside Housing.
As part of Good Guy, residents were encouraged to report build ups of combustible waste, to reduce opportunities for antisocial fire setting. All fires can be dangerous and unpredictable. Even a small build-up of waste once lit can easily spread, especially if lit close to buildings, trees, fences and other flammable material. They also often fuel antisocial behaviour and fireworks misuse.
Residents’ calls helped to achieve a 24 per cent reduction in antisocial behaviour fires over the bonfire period this year, reported by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
MFRS carried out ‘target hardening visits’ at nine properties in St Helens, which aim to strengthen sites against criminal activity, demonstrating how they might benefit from secure fencing, locks and alarms. The service also collected 6.10 tonnes of combustible waste from across the borough, which could have been targeted for antisocial fire setting.
Meanwhile, Helena Partnerships’ caretakers collected 9.1 tonnes of flammable rubbish, and deployed six container skips on three housing estates, collecting an estimated 40 tonnes of waste, which might otherwise have been destined for a hazardous bonfire.
St Helens Council’s Trading Standards team encouraged the borough’s retailers to support the campaign by limiting the selling period of fireworks, helping to cut down on noise pollution and fireworks misuse.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Lisa Preston, said: “Sincere thanks to all the residents who supported our Good Guy campaign this year by reporting waste and securing their bins, and all the services that ensured a safe and enjoyable bonfire period for all of us. By keeping our streets clear of combustible rubbish, you’ve helped to reduce antisocial behaviour and dangerous fires, freeing the fire service up to attend actual emergencies.”
Jeff Keenan, Helena Partnerships’ Neighbourhood Coordinator, said: “This year was again very successful. We have made a huge difference to our local communities and assisted a lot of vulnerable tenants in clearing items from properties, communal areas and gardens.”
Station Manager Paul Kay, Arson Reduction Coordinator for MFRS, said: “We are delighted that the vast majority of people across Merseyside were able to enjoy a safe Bonfire Night.
“In recent weeks, our firefighters and prevention teams were out in communities clearing away hazardous rubbish and fly-tipping, which could have been used as fuel for fires, and promoting the safe storage of wheelie bins to help prevent them becoming targets for arson.
“Crews also visited primary and secondary schools across Merseyside to spread safety messages and give information about the law surrounding fireworks.
“It’s very encouraging to see that the planning and partnership work we have carried out has had a positive effect this year. We are very thankful to our communities for taking on board all our safety messages and advice.”
Antisocial behaviour can be reported by calling Merseyside Police’s non-emergency on 101. Call 999 in an emergency, or if a crime is happening.
Find out more about the Be a Good Guy campaign by visiting the Safer St Helens website at safer.sthelens.gov.uk
Main photo – Community Safety partners, including Cllr Lisa Preston (front).