Over the past few years Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service have developed a robust arson reduction programme which works at a very local level engaging face to face with young people known for setting small fires.
This direct engagement has seen a reduction in arson of over 40%.
To ensure that this downward trend continues, the ASBIT teams will be in Alcester, Stratford, Southam, Leamington and Warwick over the summer holidays working in known arson hotspots. In addition, the BIKE teams (Bicycle Intervention Knowledge and Education) will be working in Atherstone, and Nuneaton and the Small Fire unit will also be out and about in both Nuneaton and Bedworth.
Arson Reduction Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, Les Moore says
“We know where, when and who is involved with small fire setting therefore our planning and positioning of crews ensures that face to face engagement and discussion enables those youngsters to see the dangers of fire setting.
“Our aim is to successfully redirect their energy into more positive activities, which will in turn reduce the number of small fires we are called to attend. This reduction will help also communities to feel safer and make sure that we are not wasting resources putting out small fires, when we could be needed at a life risk incident.”
Whilst some small fires are deliberate, accidental fires can also increase in the summer months; therefore extra care should be taken when using BBQ’s, discarding cigarettes or hot embers.
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Fire Safety, Les Caborn said:
“The ASBIT scheme has been running for a number of years now and has seen a huge reduction in arson related incidents. By working closely with communities and persistent fire setters, the officers involved in the scheme have shown just how successful face to face engagement and education can be. I hope that communities give the team their full support to help make their communities safer.”
Cllr Richard Chattaway, Chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, added: “Arson is a crime and we will do everything we can to stop young people following the wrong path and endangering not only their lives, but the lives of Warwickshire residents. The ASBIT team have made a real impact on reducing arson in Warwickshire and I hope that continues throughout the summer holiday period.”
If you do spot a small fire, please call 999 and ask for the fire service.