Summer holiday crackdown on young arsonists

Firefighters NNL-150527-123513001
Firefighters NNL-150527-123513001

Firefighters will spend the summer holidays working with known young arsonists in a bid to stamp out the number of fires across the district.

Warwickshire’s fire and rescue service will roll out its Anti-Social Behaviour Intervention Team over the summer holidays to work with young people known for deliberately starting fires in hotspots across Southam, Warwick and Leamington.

Our aim is to successfully redirect their energy into more positive activities

Rebecca Roberts

Figures show direct engagement with known arsonists has previously seen a 40 percent cut in call outs for fires.

Rebecca Roberts, arson reduction officer for the service, said: “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.”

Residents are also warned of the dangers of accidental fires over the summer as barbecues and hot embers are in regular use.

Warwickshire County Councillor, John Horner said:“The 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, officers have shown just how successful face to face engagement and education can be.”

Cllr Philp Johnson, chair of the communities 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.”

Fires should be reported immediately to the fire service via 999.