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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 169

Date:- 25 September 2004

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Merseyside is `First“ to Tackle Fireworks
Report and photograph with thanks to Merseyside police.
MERSEYSIDE Police has anounced that it has joined forces with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to become the Nation's first firework abuse, busting team.

The Firework Incident Research Safety Team (FIRST) was set up on September 1 2004 to create a fire service and joint police operations team in the hopes to stop the misuse of fireworks on Merseyside. 

The team was set up following a spate of problems during the autumn of 2003, that cost nearly £2million in damages to property. 

Chief Superintendent Paul Forrester, Head of Force Operations told the media this week that "Firework misuse is a significant problem in the UK with 20% of all illegal sales and misuse incidents representing a particularly dangerous form of anti-social behaviour in local communities.

Merseyside Trading Standards, Fire and Police services are acknowledged to have set a best practice in dealing with firework- related issues."

Chris Case of Merseyside Fire and Rescue added "We are hoping to have a significant impact on the illegal and dangerous use of fireworks on Merseyside. The expertise that both Merseyside Fire and Police Service already have, will help us combat what is a nationally recognised problem."

Aims of FIRST is to:- 

Create a database to record and monitor firework related incidents in the UK.

Analyse the data to identify trends in terms of specific fireworks and the way they are misused especially in relation to improved explosive devices.
Monitor illegal storage and sales.

Produce recommendations on how to tackle immediate issues raised.

Make recommendations on dealing with anti-social 

behaviour aspect of firework abuse.   Provide/ publish advice on identification and forensic examination of scenes and devices.

Act as a central link to the firework industry.

Act as a conduit for information to fire, police and other agencies around the country.

Publish regular intelligence reports on the current trends and patterns of behaviour.

Identify and provide specialist training on dealing worth firework incidents based on research.

Monitor the proven link of internet information exchange and firework misuse incidents through existing police website crime teams. 
The formation of the team follows the compilation of a dossier in November last year which highlighted the incidents and problems associated with firework abuse on Merseyside. 

Merseyside Police's Chief Constable Norman Bettison presented the 50 page dossier to the Government calling for tougher legislation and regulation of the importation of illegal fireworks. It also called for the licensing of display fireworks for members of the public or organisations who intended to hold a fireworks display using these fireworks, whether they to use them for an organised event or a family occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.

On 7 August the Fireworks Regulations 2004 came into force. The regulations placed restrictions on the possession, sale and use of fireworks, but the problem is still regarded by Merseyside's emergency services as "A significant problem".

Fatal Road Traffic Collision in Southport

MERSEYSIDE Police are this week appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision that occurred at 8:30pm on Thursday 23 September 2004 in Lord Street, Southport near to the junction with Duke Street.

At that time, a burgundy coloured Renault motor car collided with a wall at that location. The driver of the vehicle, an eighty year old man, was removed to Southport District General Hospital but was dead on arrival.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 0151 777 5730 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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