Crime is Not Mischief, Warn Police and Partners

Crime should not be mistaken for mischief - police and partners have warned youths and parents in the run up to “mischief night” in Cleveland.

A number of parents and their children are being visited by police and partners who have warned that crime and criminal damage should not be mistaken for mischief.
The warning comes on the back of strong messages by senior officers about parental responsibility.

Mischief night traditionally occurs on 30th October each year and has historically been a busy period for police and partners. 
Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Coast & Country are visiting the homes of known offenders, and their parents, to warn that if the children are found to be causing issues on mischief night or half term, there could be serious consequences. Parents could even face losing their home under breaches of their tenancy agreements and criminal action could be taken if deemed appropriate. 
Dispersal notices will be in place in hotspot areas as well as high visibility patrols and youngsters will be signposted to diversionary activities.  Local authorities have also been heavily involved in planning.
Superintendent John Lyons said: “Those who commit acts of crime and criminal damage are not being mischievous, they are carrying out criminal offences and it won’t be tolerated.

“My message to parents is: ‘do you know where your children are and what they are doing?’

“We recognise that there may be some children that do not go out intending to commit antisocial behaviour, crime and disorder, but could be drawn into it with others who are intent on doing so.

“We’ll be carrying out high visibility patrols, making full use of legislation around dispersal orders and also signposting youths to diversionary activities. Let this be a warning to those who think it’s acceptable to commit crime this half term, we won’t tolerate it and you may well face criminal proceedings in a court of law.
“Additional costs to the public of policing an operation such as this, is in the region of £99K – and this does not include the additional costs incurred by our partner agencies, caused by a minority of youths intent on causing destruction.  Their thoughtlessness in using this as an excuse to cause wanton damage is a huge burden on Police resources and it is up to parents to help ensure this doesn’t happen this year.  Those funds could have been put to much better use attending incidents where the police’s help was vital.”

Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Our message is clear – unofficial bonfires aren’t mischief. They’re arson.
“We will continue to work alongside the police and other partners to ensure people responsible for arson are held to account.”
Iain Sim, Chief Executive of Coast & Country said: “It’s important that we work in partnership with the Police and Fire Service to ensure that nuisance behaviour is nipped in the bud and all our communities can feel safe.   Older people and families with young children can be particularly distressed by so called mischief but it can be upsetting for anyone and we fully support the actions of the Police and take robust tenancy enforcement action against any tenants or anyone living with them who causes antisocial behaviour.”
Call Cleveland Police on 101 in a non-emergency. Always call 999 in an emergency.