POLICE are planning how to deal with one of the busiest times of the year for the South Yorkshire force - the one-week period covering Mischief Night, Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The force is traditionally inundated with calls about nuisance and anti-social behaviour between late October and early November, so officers are devising ways now to deter troublemakers from wreaking havoc.
Mischief Night - the evening before Halloween - is particularly popular in Barnsley, where youngsters traditionally play pranks but where their behaviour can get out of hand and often results in members of the public calling the police to complain.
Inspector Julie Mitchell, of the Town and Kingston Safer Neighbourhood Team in Barnsley, said: “Although the summer is still with us, I have turned my attention towards the October half term week, Mischief Night and Bonfire Night.
“Planning ahead is taking up some time at the moment - which is far better than being on the back foot if things go wrong.
“For the past few years we have seen reductions in criminal damage and anti-social behaviour around this period, and we want this trend to continue.
“There has been a lot of good work going on in schools, raising awareness among young people about the consequences of drinking and anti-social behaviour.
“We have planned an intensive week-long course in partnership with the Fire Service in early October for a group of young people we deem to be at risk of getting involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We are also launching a Community Alcohol Partnership scheme in Kendray and Worsbrough to tackle under-age drinking.
“There are lots of planned diversionary activities for Barnsley Town Centre on November 4 - free live bands, bowling, a climbing wall, and sporting activities. There was excellent attendance last year which I am sure kept crime and nuisance figures down.”
She urged: “Let’s all encourage our young people to take up this opportunity to have a fun night doing something positive.”