Ben Kentish 10pm - 1am
Officers warn of fireworks danger after mum and baby caught in Halloween chaos at Stratford station
1 November 2022, 08:08 | Updated: 1 November 2022, 12:41
Officers have renewed calls for fireworks to be used responsibly after Stratford bus station descended into chaos on Halloween, with suspected gangs hurling the explosives at a mum and baby.
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Videos shared on social media showed a group of around 200 young people hurling fireworks at one another outside Westfield shopping centre, with innocent passers by caught in the crossfire.
One clip showed a mum with a baby in a pram get hit by an explosion.
Officers were not made aware of the specific incident at the time and neither the Met, nor the LAS, received a report of any injury to the child, according to the Metropolitan Police.
The force was seen trying to get the crowds under control in full protective equipment, with a teen girl having been arrested amid the disorder.
The 'Halloween meet-up' appeared to have been planned online, with a TikTok video instructing those getting involved to wear Halloween masks and all black for the 'firework wars'.
One person tweeted: "Stratford Bus Station in East London has been evacuated. Many, many police and a search helicopter above. Looks fairly serious."
firework hits mom and baby in stratford pic.twitter.com/jFZ8C3JH4W— Bardi (@aaronsupper) October 31, 2022
The Met said it received a call about fireworks being set off during peak rush hour as commuters travelled home.
There were numerous calls to them from concerned members of the public.
A spokesperson for the force said: "Police were called at 6.24pm on Monday, October 31 to reports that a group of people were setting off fireworks near to Stratford Bus Station.
"Officers attended and no injuries were reported.
"A teenage girl was arrested after a firework was thrown towards officers.
"She remains in custody at an east London police station. Enquiries are ongoing."
Chief Superintendent Simon Crick, who is in command of policing for Newham and Waltham Forest, later added: "This was a very challenging situation and I am proud of the way my officers, supported by teams from across the Met, responded to restore calm.
"Sadly, each year around this time we see incidents, often in busy public places, where fireworks are set off in a reckless way causing panic and risking serious injury.
"We were lucky on Monday evening that nobody – either the public or officers – was hurt.
"We saw from the video where a firework exploded by a pushchair just how real the risk of serious injury could be.
"I would urge anyone who has bought or intends to buy fireworks to remember their responsibility to use them in a way that keeps others safe."