Tackling Arson In Bradford District!

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is winning the battle against arson alongside emergency service partners and other agencies.

But despite the reduction in arson attacks, this reckless crime still blights the lives of communities and businesses across West Yorkshire and comes at an estimated cost of just short of £2 million per year to the fire service.

In the last year there have been over 5,500 deliberate fires across the county – which have resulted in three fatalities and almost 50 people being injured.

Next week is national Arson Awareness Week (May 3-9) when we want to spread the message that one arson is one too many.

In Bradford district 1,670 deliberate fires have been recorded in the last year (2014/15) which down considerably from the 2,636 recorded in 2010/11.

However, two people have still died in deliberately set fires in Bradford district in the last year and over the last five years nine people have lost their lives.

Although injuries as a result of deliberate fires have halved in the last five years for Bradford district – almost 100 people have still been hurt in them in this time-frame.

Whilst deliberate fires at commercial premises in Bradford are also on the decrease, 34 businesses were still targeted in the 2014/15 financial year.

And 39 homes were targeted across the district – this represents a reduction of more than half since 2010/11.

District Prevention Manager for Bradford, Tom Rhodes, said: “We are slowly but surely winning the battle against arson in the Bradford District – but one arson attack is one too many.

“We tackle this issue from the grassroots up with prevention teams engaging with communities and young people to instil an understanding of the true danger of fire.

“In the last year firefighters have been called to over 1,000 deliberately set rubbish fires across the Bradford district which is an utter waste of our life-saving resources. Over 100 of these involved the setting alight of wheelie bins.

“We work closely alongside West Yorkshire Police to investigate arson and pursue prosecutions wherever possible. Arson really is a crime that hits at the heart of the community and we will not stop until it’s stamped out.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Blackwell, of Bradford District Police, said: “Arson is an incredibly dangerous offence, as even small fires can pose a real risk particularly if they are near properties.  It only takes seconds for a fire to spread, which can result in fatal consequences.

“Police work closely with partners in the fire service to investigate arson attacks and forensic techniques to detect the cause of these fires and gather evidence to identify those responsible have advanced greatly in recent years.

“Arson will not be tolerated in Bradford District and those convicted can expect to face serious consequences.”

On Thursday (April 30) WYFRS’ Bradford District Prevention Team visited Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College as part of their routine visits to local schools.

As part of the Prison Me! No Way! (PMNW) national educational roadshow the fire service talked to teenagers about the various consequences of arson.

Headteacher at the school, Mr Richard Hughes said: We have used PMNW for several years and, every year, we see it effectively help students understand issues of safety and responsibility. Supporting students to think through issues such as arson and petty crime is a vital part of the day.”

Malcolm Parkes from Prison Me! No Way! added: “The whole day is aimed at the choices young people have to make. Young people today are exposed to so much through technology, social media and television. The whole day is about them looking at their choices, decisions and actions and hopefully making them think before taking any of these. As after the day they understand the consequence of taking the wrong choice, decision or action.”

The Prison Me! No Way! also sees prison officers and an ex-offender talk to youngsters about what it’s like to do time and a representative speaks from the charity SCARD (Support and Care after Road Death and Injury).

 

Bradford District – deliberately set fires

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

Total

Primary Fires

556

456

383

339

291

2025

Dwellings

87

88

48

61

39

323

Commercial

53

50

38

36

34

211

Road vehicles

331

223

242

178

172

1146

Other primary

85

95

55

64

46

345

Fatalities

6

1

2

9

Injuries

27

25

15

17

12

96

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

Total

Secondary Fires

2080

1950

1131

1377

1379

7917

Rubbish fires

1392

1335

863

995

1066

5651

Wheelie bins

99

96

102

297

Primary fires include – dwellings, commercial, road vehicles, other primary.

Secondary fires include rubbish fires.

Wheelie bin figures were only categorised as of 2012/13 and are included in rubbish fire figures.

Anyone with information about people setting fires deliberately is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.