At Halloween events across the capital innocent people have been attacked with fireworks.

Due to Covid restrictions this year, we have been deprived of our traditional Bonfire night firework displays, but that is not to say this Autumn has been firework free. Even as I write this article, fireworks are exploding in fits every five minutes or so in different directions to celebrate Diwali. I have always loved fireworks, but my experiences on Halloween a fortnight ago have shown me for the first time how fireworks can be used not as an expression of elation but as a tool of terror.

I, like thousands of my fellow teenagers, headed out on Halloween to see friends in open spaces before the lockdown was imposed. But in parks across London - from Southbank to Old Deer Park in Richmond to Wimbledon Common - festive celebrations were marred by the deliberate targeting of people with fireworks. For me, my local park adopted the trauma of a 20th century battlefield, as we rapidly dashed behind trees while the air was illuminated and fireworks whizzed overhead and exploded just metres away. But thankfully, there was space to run and hide, and I was not aware of anyone getting hurt. At Southbank on the other hand, which was one of the largest gatherings in the capital and accounted for two of the 11 major police callouts on Halloween, the situation was more severe. There were numerous accounts of people confined in the tunnels between Southbank and Waterloo station suffering burns as a result of fireworks exploding on them.

One anonymous source spoke exclusively to This Is Local London: ‘It was not just one person, it was a lot of people [who were letting off the fireworks]. It was alright where I was but in The Arches it got out of hand, and the people were firing them at people and houses, they just didn’t care.’

The events on Halloween, which surely don’t exist in isolation, not only make one wonder who could be so twisted as to revel in the infliction of fear and pain on others, but also call into question the regulations for buying fireworks. According to an official government website, standard fireworks cannot be bought by anyone under the age of 18, they must be bought from a licensed shop and they may not be let off in the street or any public place. However, during the festive season, purchasing laws are relaxed significantly and in a simple test of attempting to buy fireworks from one of the plethora of online retailers, I found that in order to make a purchase I only had to click a button to confirm my age.

It seems shocking that in a country where guns are banned, we are allowing fireworks - which can cause serious injury when used with malevolent intent - to be bought so easily. One measure to tackle inappropriate use could be to require anyone wishing to use fireworks of grade 2 or above to obtain a licence, and I hope that the people who weaponised fireworks on Halloween are ashamed by the injury they caused to innocent people.