University Assignment: Patch Story Interview 1

Sunday, 2 December 2012

So for one of my assignments at uni I had to write a patch story. For those of you who don't know what that is, you're given an area to cover and that is considered your patch. You then find a story within that area, carry out the relevant interviews, and write the story up. This particular patch story was written a while back and was about the possibility of increased criminal activity around Bonfire Night, so I interview Gordon Wheeler, county councillor for West Bridgford.

Do you notice an increase in anti-social behaviour around West Bridgford around bonfire night?
No, I don’t know what the figs are from last year but crime as you’re probably aware is dropping rapidly in WB so I can’t imagine there would be any peak even allowing for bonfire night but I’m not aware of anything

Is there a major bonfire event taking place in West Bridgford over next week, and what age group would you say it is targeted at?
Not in WB but the nearest big event is in Wilford village, targeted at families, they sell family tickets for all the family to go along.

What do the council do to try and ensure or promote optimum safety around this period?
Police put messages out particularly to those having bonfire parties and those that aren't
 organised. There is an alert system is emails that are sent out to people who sign up for them and from time to time you get messages from them telling them of any crime. There was theft of catalyst converters from top of the range cars that has been stolen believe it or not, they are very expensive, cutting them off of BMWs etc.

Do you think it would benefit the community to only allow companies running a bonfire night event to purchase fireworks? Would this reduce criminal activity?
The council and schools have clamped down on selling fireworks to young people just like with alcohol so they do ask for proof of age and they are strict about, it they have to be as the penalties are very severe. I’d hate there to be a situation where families couldn't organise a bonfire event in their back garden, I used to do it when my children were younger but I understand why the move to more organised events will minimise accidents and injuries.

As a county councillor, is there anything else you would like to comment on regarding this issue?
Parents and young people to take extra care particular if having a bonfire in their own back gardens or even sparklers as I’m sure you’re aware that they remain very hot for a long while. They can cause very bad burns so wear gloves, make sure you use the right equipment and read instruction on the fireworks themselves as they are very useful  and manufacturers are obliged to put these on. Plan carefully when you’re having a bonfire make certain you plan carefully, take every precaution imaginable and keep pets indoors.

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