I am the sergeant from the Safer Schools Policing Team for the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
As you may already know there has been an unwanted ‘tradition’ of disorder and anti-social behaviour in and around Woolwich Town Centre and Eltham High Street in the lead up to Halloween and fireworks night involving young people. Many of the young people are spectators to this with a small minority throwing fireworks at or near members of the public and running around in large groups. There was also a stabbing incident in the town centre last year involving youths in the area. What made the policing operation difficult were the vast numbers of young people gathered which created cover for young people and made the situation intimidating to members of the public.
Can I please appeal to your duty as a parent/guardian to ensure your child is not present unless accompanied by a responsible adult in Woolwich Town Centre or Eltham High Street in the evenings leading up to Halloween and fireworks night. I feel the community was let down last year by the children present and it is your responsibility as parents and guardians to make sure they do not let you and your community down again.
If you believe your child is in Woolwich Town Centre or Eltham High Street any evening leading up to Halloween and Fireworks, night can you please make arrangements to collect them and take them home and if you recognise any of their friends, offer to take them home too and/or inform their parents.
Can you also check that your child is not in possession of any fireworks as they are very dangerous when used incorrectly and can cause serious injury. If you find any fireworks in your child’s possession please dispose of them safely and in accordance with guidance from the London Fire Brigade on this link https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/media/5404/gn_07_lf_format-fireworks-and-firework-displays.pdf
If you become aware of any shops selling fireworks to persons under 18 please email Greenwich Trading Standards at firstname.lastname@example.org
Within Woolwich Town Centre and Eltham High Street there is a Public Space Protection Order which allows authorised officers of The Royal Borough of Greenwich or a police constable to instruct your child to stop the behaviours within that area and they can also require your child to leave that area for up to 48 hours. Failure to comply with instructions given to them by an authorised officer is a criminal offence for which they could be prosecuted.
Please help us keep our community safe. I do not want your child involved in any disorder or for them to get seriously hurt in Woolwich Town Centre and Eltham High Street.
Lastly, I want you to enjoy this time of year so please consider taking your children to organised events during Halloween or fireworks night or just enjoy some quality family time indoors.
Sergeant Geoff Warren