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Police on standby for Bonfire Night

PUBLISHED: 13:37 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:43 16 August 2010

THOUSANDS of police officers have been called in to help combat an expected increase in violent crime over Bonfire Night.

THOUSANDS of police officers have been called in to help combat an expected increase in violent crime over Bonfire Night.

An extra 1,800 police officers and 1,900 PCSOs from Safer Neighbourhoods teams, plus additional special constables, are being deployed until Saturday, carrying on from Halloween last weekend.

All leave has been cancelled for the period, which traditionally sees a rise in robbery, violent assault and anti-social behaviour.

Blanket tactics employed by the Met Police have had some success in limiting the surge in crime.

Met Commander Mark Simmons said: "Historically, anti-social behaviour and street crime rises during this time, causing distress to many people, which is totally unacceptable. Parents should aim to attend organised fireworks events. Any anti-social behaviour or concerns can be reported to your local Safer Neighbourhoods team."

To ensure young people remain safe, officers across all 32 London boroughs have been instructed to build a detailed intelligence picture of bonfire night events where there is a potential risk of trouble.

Officers joined forces several months ago with the London Mayor's Office, fire brigade, councils and businesses to plan activities aimed at reducing the risk of violence.

Mr Simmons added: "I would like to stress, however, that we are not out to demonise young people. In fact, it is only a very small minority whose behaviour causes misery for others and spoils the fun for the vast majority of law-abiding members of the public."

More officers are being deployed at the special operations centre on key nights to monitor emergency calls and coordinate responses. The Blunt 2 taskforce will be diverted to boroughs needing extra support to target those involved in carrying or using weapons.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Of course, we want Londoners to enjoy themselves, but ask that they spare a thought on how their actions might impact others. Anti-social and criminal behaviour in the name of fun is not acceptable."

Screening arches and stop-and-search operations will be increased.

The Met's Safer Transport Command, funded by Transport for London is running Operation Safebus to tackle youth disorder on the transport network during the festive period.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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