Operation Sparkler visit to Bognor schools

PUPILS from across the Bognor Regis area are being warned against anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and fireworks misuse.

As bonfire night approaches, the Safer Arun Partnership will be launching Operation Sparkler to help educate youngsters on the dangers of fireworks and 
combat crime.

Starting next Monday, officers from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and Arun District Council’s anti-social behaviour team will spend the week visiting secondary schools presenting to Year 7 assemblies on firework safety and the implications irresponsible behaviour around fires has on the community.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service deputy district commander for Arun, Dave Benham, said: “Fireworks can be fun, but can also be dangerous if not handled properly.

“We urge that the utmost care is taken with their storage, handling and use, whether you are organising a display for the family, friends or the general public.

“West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service want you to have a safe event and by following some simple dos and don’ts, risks can be greatly reduced.”

Some of the schools receiving a visit will be Felpham Community College, Westergate Community School, St Phillip Howard Catholic High School and The Regis School.

Advice will include simple actions which can be taken to reduce risks, like keeping fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, standing back after lighting, never returning to a lit firework and keeping a bucket of water handy.

Guidance on bonfire safety will also be given.

In addition joint patrols during the week of October 29, and up to and including November 4 will be carried out.

Officers from the partnership agencies will be aiming to target areas prone to acts of anti-social behaviour and to engage with local groups of youths to pass on advice and warnings about inappropriate actions associated with halloween and fireworks.

Officers will also be visiting a number of retail outlets that sell fireworks over the forthcoming weeks to ensure that they are being sold in accordance with the law and safety guidelines.

Sussex Police sergeant Roy Hodder said: “Working as a partnership on Operation Sparkler over the years has shown some excellent results in reducing the number of incidents involving damage and disorder over the halloween and bonfire period.

“We want to make this an enjoyable and safe time for the entire community and would encourage people to consider attending organised firework displays where possible.

“It is also important we highlight the fact that there are members of the local community who do not wish to be involved in activities such as ‘Trick or Treat’ and we need to consider and 
respect this.”