October 28th, 2016

Scheme aims to target young arsonists over summer

Scheme aims to target young arsonists over summer Scheme aims to target young arsonists over summer
Updated: 11:18 am, Jul 21, 2015

FIREFIGHTERS are aiming to crack down on the number of small fires started across the county.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Anti-Social Behaviour Intervention Team (ASBIT) will spend the summer working with young people known for setting small fires as part of its arson reduction programme.

Figures from previous years have shown direct engagement can help reduce incidents of arson by more than 40 per cent in some areas.

And the ASBIT team is hoping to ensure similar success by going to arson hotspots in Alcester, Stratford, Warwick, Southam and Leamington over the summer holidays.

Arson reduction officer for WFRS, Rebecca Roberts, said: “We know where, when and who is involved with small fire setting and as such, our planning and positioning of crews ensures 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 communities feel safer and make sure we are not wasting resources putting out small fires when we could be at a life risk incident.”

Residents are also being warned of the increased risk of accidental fires – caused by BBQs, discarding cigarettes or hot embers – over the summer owing to the warmer weather.

Coun Philip Johnson, 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.”

Anyone who spots a small fire is asked to call 999.