Mindless firework-throwing thugs cast a shadow over town | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar column

Treacle toffee, parkin and community cheer – that is the usual Burnley Bonfire night fare but not this year.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 5:01 pm
Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar

This year, emergency services were lured to areas to become the target of firework-throwing thugs.

That no personnel were hurt is a miracle but the damage to vehicles and, more importantly, the damage to the tie of trust that make our paramedics, police, firemen, first responders so willing to place themselves in the most dangerous situations to protect the communities they serve may, in those areas, never be the same.

Shameful – pointless, senseless, dangerous hooliganism; doubtless those participating in this will be boasting about their actions.

I hope they are proud, proud of their blatant disregard for life, proud of the damage that have meant emergency vehicles have had to be withdrawn from service, proud of leaving Burnley residents without the emergency backup we need and lastly, proud of the money they have wasted from the public purse.

There will be consequences for these actions and those found to be responsible will feel the full force of the law.

So, if you want to save a life and protect the vulnerable in our community, I ask anyone who witnesses such behaviour in the future to report it.

I also urge parents to take some responsibility, this type of behaviour reflects negatively on all our communities and the whole borough.

Discussions are underway to develop a long-term strategy to deal with the sale of fireworks and what powers we can use under government/licensing legislation to ensure this doesn’t happen next year.

As a council we will do all we can to ensure the safety of our communities and emergency services.

Spurred on by the above I joined our local Police Response Team to gain an insight into the daily pressures they come under on what, to them, would be a typical night shift.

A quick briefing and I was out in a patrol vehicle responding to the first of successive emergency calls.

The surprise was, most of the calls we attended are not what you or I would class as traditional policing. No 'Cops and Robbers', more domestic violence, safeguarding and supporting the night-time economy.

The point is, no matter what or where, every call is attended and there is scarcely time to draw breath.

So perhaps those who know the perpetrators of the prank calls should reflect that one day you may need the emergency services, but someone has thought it funny to lead them off on a wild goose chase instead.

The actions of the mindless few have once again cast a shadow over Burnley. I hope they are proud of themselves and let us hope they never need to call on any of the services for themselves or a loved one.