Deliberate fires take up a large amount of our firefighters’ time. In the past year alone, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has responded to over 2,000 arson attacks. Local people have lost their livelihoods, important facilities closed and vital services withdrawn.
Arson hurts everybody, needlessly risking the lives of firefighters and the law abiding public, costing millions of pounds in damage to property and ruining the environment. The majority of arson attacks can be prevented by improving safety and security, which need not cost a lot and should be part of good housekeeping and premises management practice. It can be something as simple as regularly removing rubbish to prevent it building up. In comparison, failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if you do suffer an arson attack.
ARSON IS A CRIME! If you see it, report it…
Report arsonists anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
Alternatively, if you see an arsonist in the act, don’t hesitate to contact Leicestershire Police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Joint Arson Reduction Strategy 2020 – 2023
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Leicestershire Police have produced a joint strategy, found below, which outlines the working arrangements between both services.
The strategy aims to:
- Reduce the incidence of deliberate fires and arson, and their consequential impacts including personal and economic loss, contributing to community empowerment and economic growth.
- The outcome of this strategy is to create safer homes, safer business and buildings, and safer neighbourhoods.
A series of new Arson Toolkits are being worked on, and aims to provide prevention solutions and define some of the actions that can be taken when arson attacks occur.
Arson Risk Assessment
An Arson Risk Assessment is a careful examination of potential fire targets and gaps in security to determine whether there are enough precautions in place or whether more should be done. The aim of the exercise is to identify ways to deter or limit the activities of a potential arsonist. This Arson Fire Risk Assessment Guide and the accompanying checklists for your type of premises (shown below) will assist you in taking a structured approach to assessing arson risk by identifying the type of people who might start fires and the targets most likely to be chosen.
Who Starts Fires?
Arson attacks occur for a variety of reasons but generally fall within four broad headings:
- Fire Play – fire play is a result of young people playing with fire either out of curiosity, boredom or with the intention to cause damage to property.
- Revenge – revenge attacks after an argument with friends, family of employees where the intention is to harm or injure a person.
- Emotional – emotional fire setting is associated with arsonists who may have mental health problems and set fires as a means of expressing themselves.
- Criminal – criminal fire setting is where arson is committed to destroy evidence of another criminal activity or to fraudulently claim on insurance payments.
The most common reason is fire play and the majority of people cautioned or found guilty of committing arson are male and aged under 18. Arson attacks involving this group are more likely to be opportunistic in nature and target areas with inadequate security measures and/or poor housekeeping practices.
What We Are Doing to Combat Arson
In order to help us combat arson, where an incident caused by arson occurs, we visit the location and initiate community safety initiatives. We also liaise with other partner agencies when necessary to help assist us in preventing arson, for example housing associations to remove rubbish which becomes a target for arson. We try and work with individuals who we feel, for whatever reasons, could be potential arsonists. We also fully investigate all arson attempts, often utilising the Fire Investigation Dog to assist us gather evidence and hopefully prosecute the arsonist to try and prevent it happening again.
FireCare for Young People
As a Service, to help prevent arson, we offers a free, confidential FireCare service to any child who persist on playing with or setting fires, up to age of 18 years old. FireCare involves home visits to the family by our advisors and, by doing this, we aim to educate the whole family about fire safety. However, for young people with more complex problems, we can make a series of visits, referring them to other support services where appropriate. More information on the FireCare service we provide can be found by visiting the FireCare page.