Groups of children who go trick or treating at Halloween are having harmless fun – and shouldn’t be compared to antisocial gangs roaming the streets, says a senior police officer.
There’s a “marked difference” between groups of children socialising on the street and intimidating thugs “roaming neighbourhoods” in gangs, says Simon Edens, deputy chief constable of Leicestershire. “It’s important,” he says, “that we don’t become intolerant to normal childlike behaviour.”
“Not everyone likes trick or treating and not everyone feels it has a place in communities in the UK,” says Mr Edens, who is also the Association of Chief Police Officers’ National Policing Lead for anti-social behaviour. “But it’s now part of our culture and we should expect children to be in high spirits at that time.”
He does accept, though, that trick-or-treating children do need to remember that some folk really don’t like the Halloween door-stepping trend at all. “It’s important that parents, schools and the police do our bit to teach young people to recognise that not everyone considers trick or treating fun,” he says, “and, for some, having unsolicited callers at their door after dark can be frightening. It’s a balance of tolerance and respect.”
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