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A tricky time for Halloween door knocking

Chief "Covid commander" says: "Is it safe to be going to people’s doors and knocking?"

16 October, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Police urge families to be safe

Halloween trick or treating will not be banned in Islington, but police are urging families to “be sensible” as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Chief Inspector Pete Dearden, the “Covid commander” for Camden and Islington, told the Tribune: “People just need to ask themselves if what they’re doing is safe? “Is it safe to be going to people’s doors and knocking? Is it legal even?”

He added: “They won’t know who’s behind the door, it could be someone vulnerable, so don’t put people in danger and abide by the measures such as the rule of six.”

Social media groups have been flashing with parents discussing whether it will still be possible for their children to knock on doors asking for chocolate and sweets on October 31.

Others are looking ahead to how Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year’s Eve might still be celebrated with no sign of a quick end to the coronavirus crisis.

Ch Insp Dearden said: “It’s a busy time of year and we as police don’t know what’s around the corner, in terms of further restrictions, nobody does.

“But we have plans in place to help us deal with changes.

“From next Monday, we’re launching our autumn night plan, which means that for three weeks Islington will experience an increase in activity to combat violence, street crime – which tends to see a spike this time of year – and robberies.

“We will be targeting prolific offenders, executing warrants and doing weapons sweeps as well as Covid enforcement.”

He added: “We’re alive to the fact that people can’t go to pubs or nightclubs after 10pm now and that as the weather gets darker, colder and wetter, and we enter the festive season, some people are having parties at home or in private residences, which is harder to police.

“We’ve already seen a rise in this type of gathering and we’ll respond to each report appropriately.”

The local force, which covers Camden and Islington, has seen an increase in officers suffering from coronavirus, particularly young officers, he added, but said this would not affect the unit’s performance.

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