Dressing up in your favourite witch or skeleton costume and knocking on doors screaming "trick or treat" is all part of our Halloween tradition and for most it is just a bit of fun.

But although it is meant to be spooky, some people can be scared easily and there are lines which should not be crossed.

Metropolitan Police has launched its Autumn Nights campaign in a bid to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Police say ASB increases around the time of Halloween and Bonfire Night when the nights draw in, with many elderly and vulnerable members of communities left feeling anxious and worried at the prospect of uninvited trick or treating, misuse of fireworks and large crowds of people.

As a result, officers are using a number of different tactics to target and prevent crime, including an increased visible presence of officers on the streets alongside planned operations mapping current and past ASB hot spots.

The campaign is running hand in hand with Operation Sceptre which tackles knife crime, during which police will be using a variety of tactics including intense weapon sweeps and intelligence-led policing to target repeat knife crime offenders.

Around 7,050 anti-social behaviour incidents were reported between Halloween and Bonfire Night last year

Volunteer Police Cadets will be on hand to assist officers taking part in test purchasing operations in a bid to uncover the illegal sale of over the counter weapons, alcohol and fireworks.

Transport for London (TfL) and the Met's Road and Transport Policing Team are also on board with the operation, carrying out increased patrols in a bid to prevent disorder on buses and at transport hubs around the capital.

Superintendent Tania Coulson, who is leading the Autumn Nights operation, said: "We are here to ensure young people enjoy the festivities but remain safe in doing so.

"Our operations are not aimed at ruining the fun of this time of year but are in place to ensure those who are intent on committing crime and anti-social behaviour are dealt with accordingly."

Met Police has provided a number of safety tips

In 2016 around 5,111 calls were made each week to police regarding ASB incidents.

This significantly increased to around 7,050 reported incidents between Halloween and Bonfire Night, a massive 38% increase on the weekly average.

This rose to a 60% increase during the week ending November 6, with around 8,190 calls made to the police.

"The majority of Londoners enjoy this time of year in a safe way, but the Met's Autumn Nights and Operation Sceptre activity help ensure anyone looking to commit crime is dealt with robustly and dangerous weapons are removed from the capital's streets," said the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden.

Police advice those heading out to take a torch

"Anti-social behaviour can have a serious impact on local residents, and knife crime leaves communities devastated.

"By targeting repeat offenders, increasing visible policing and engaging vulnerable people, we can drive down crime and help everyone celebrate safely."

Local officers will be offering crime prevention advice to vulnerable and elderly residents, and young people will be provided with travel safety advice.

What safety tips should I follow this Halloween?

Metropolitan Police advises the following:

  • Ensure a responsible adult is out with children.
  • Don't knock on doors displaying 'No trick or treat' signs.
  • Plan your route before leaving home.
  • Stay close to home and try only to visit houses of people you know.
  • Do not enter a stranger's home or speak to strangers in the street.
  • Be careful when crossing the road.
  • Carry a torch and wear reflective clothing - why not try and incorporate it into your spooky outfit?
  • Be careful not to frighten elderly or vulnerable residents.


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