Annex 3 - Summary of social media polls (internal analysis carried out by SG Building Safer Communities Team)
During the consultation, four polls were carried out - two on Facebook on Sunday 3 February and Monday 15 April, and two on Twitter on the same dates, asking the following questions:
Poll 1: "Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks?" (Facebook 3 February).
Poll 2. "Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks?" (Twitter 3 February 2019).
Poll 3: "Do you think there should be more controls on the use of fireworks to make sure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering?" (Facebook 15 April).
Poll 4: "Have you ever been affected by fireworks being used in an irresponsible or unsafe way?" (Twitter 15 April).
The first two polls carried out on Facebook and Twitter on 3 February, which coincided with the launch of the consultation, received the highest number of responses: 15,300 and 12,745 respectively. The Facebook poll carried out on 15 April received 5,500 responses and the Twitter poll carried out on the same date received 358 votes. A full summary is provided below:
|Poll||Response and Engagement|
|1) Facebook 3rd February||15,300 total votes 183 comments 1100 shares 211 reactions|
|2) Twitter 3rd February||12,745 total votes 158 comments 670 retweets 367 likes|
|3) Facebook 15th April||5,500 total votes 159 comments 369 shares 170 reactions|
|4) Twitter 15th April||358 total votes 15 comments 31 retweets 8 likes|
Across all polls a clear majority of those who responded agreed that there should be tighter control over the sale and use of fireworks:
|Poll One (Facebook): Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks?||88% Yes 12% No (15,300 total votes)|
|Poll Two (Twitter): Do you think we should have tighter control over the public sale of fireworks?||86% Yes 14% No (12,745 total votes)|
|Poll Three (Facebook): Do you think there should be more controls on the use of fireworks to make sure animals are not caused unnecessary suffering?||87% Yes 13% No (5,500 total votes)|
|Poll Four (Twitter): Have you ever been affected by fireworks being used in an irresponsible or unsafe way?||57% Yes 43% No (358 total votes)|
In addition to responses to the polls, people were able to leave comments which provided further details of the reasons behind their response. The open-ended comments under each poll were coded for the purposes of identifying key themes. Five main themes emerged:
1. Support for tighter controls over fireworks;
2. Reasons for supporting tighter controls over fireworks;
3. Specific suggestions for tighter controls over fireworks;
4. Against tighter controls over fireworks; and
5. Reasons against tighter controls over fireworks.
The vast majority of comments left under each of the polls generally indicated support for greater control over how fireworks can be sold and used. These comments ranged from general statements of support for tighter controls and laws on fireworks, for example "…88% of the nearly 16,000 polled want tighter controls of fireworks!!" and "It's much more controlled in France and Germany", to calls for a complete ban on fireworks for example, "Total ban from my perspective. Even organised displays can cause distress and pollution."
Many people provided specific reasons why they felt there should be greater controls, which typically centred around the impact that fireworks can have on animals and on people including children, older people, those with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. For example, one commented that there is a "need for some pet owners (and humans) to invest in anxiety medication thanks to the unnecessary banging." Another respondent commented that fireworks "trigger my PTSD" and another stated "I have a disabled son who doesn't cope with the noise".
A smaller number of people also left comments in relation to fireworks being used irresponsibly, particularly around the misuse of fireworks by young people. Other issues that were raised included: the noise disturbance of fireworks; that fireworks are dangerous and have the potential to cause injury; and negative impact of fireworks on the environment.
The largest number of comments, however, related to specific suggestions of what greater controls over the sale and use of fireworks should include. The most common suggestion was that fireworks should only be used at licenced displays, for example comment included that the "public shouldn't be able to purchase" and that firework use "should be supervised (at) public events only", "Fireworks should only be for professionally organised displays", and "…[fireworks] are much safer for everyone when at a public display". Other suggestions that were raised included: moving to silent fireworks; banning the sale of fireworks to the general public; and introducing a licencing system for the private sale/use of fireworks. A smaller number of people also suggested limiting the use of fireworks to special occasions, introducing greater punishment for the misuse of fireworks, and restricting the period when fireworks can be sold.
In line with the headline results to the polls, a smaller number of people left comments indicating that they were against tighter controls over fireworks being introduced. Many of these comments were general statements of being in favour of fireworks, such as; "We don't have any problems with fireworks in our area. Fireworks are great." and "I do think some fireworks can be good, for morale, and regulations can keep it safe…".
And, as before, some people left comments which outlined the reasons they felt there should not be greater controls over the sale and use of fireworks. These tended to centre on a belief that other more pressing issues should be taking priority, and that greater controls would be disproportionate and would over-regulate how and when fireworks can be used. For example. "…sort out the NHS and the education system" and "I don't think they should ban sales to (the) public, it's not the fireworks, it's the idiots that are buying them that (are) the problem."