Arson reduction

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A firefighter tackles a car fire

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have for many years worked with organisations and agencies to plan and implement strategies for the reduction of arson and crime related fires. To achieve this we have developed an Arson Reduction Strategy.

Our Arson Reduction Strategy follows four main strands:

We will endeavour to ensure that all four strands are implemented successfully with greater emphasis being put on investigation and detection through partnership with the police service and other agencies.

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Prevention

  • Lobby support from local and national politicians for greater focus on the problem of arson.
  • Include and focus on arson prevention during our audits of the management of fire safety provision for non domestic premises.
  • Encourage planners to incorporate arson prevention within their thinking when designing new residential and non domestic developments.
  • Campaigns to remove fuel sources (such as Car-Cubit) are encouraged.
  • Ensure we supply accurate and timely data to our partners including CDRPs.
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Education

  • Continue and develop further our arson awareness strategies to the public with education initiatives.
  • Support business communities, schools etc with guidance in how to minimise the potential of arson.
  • Make best use of publicity and education materials available from the Arson Prevention Bureau and support campaigns they run.
  • Pursue our initiatives with children and young people through such initiatives as the Fire Setter Intervention Scheme, Crucial Crew etc.
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Investigation

  • Ensure that all fires are suitably investigated by competent Fire Investigation Officers.
  • Maintain and develop the competency of our Fire Investigators ensuring the meet the requirements of the new National Occupancy Standards.
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Detection

  • Work closely with the Police and Forensic Science Services to ensure that incidents of deliberate ignition are detected, investigated fully and optimise the opportunity of bringing the culprit to justice.
  • Provide expert support in court where persons are prosecuted for arson.
    The ARO will in formulate the Action Plans required to secure the ambitions of this document take into account the issues listed above.
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Regional Arson Reduction

Shropshire has joined forces with Herefordshire, West Midlands arson task force, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire to create the West Midlands Region Arson Reduction Team (WMRART).

Map showing the West Midlands region

The WMRART had its first meeting on Tuesday October 5th 2004 which was hosted by Staffordshire Arson Reduction Team at Pirehill, Stone, Staffordshire. The delegates agreed to quarterly meetings with the objective of sharing best practice and working together to reduce running costs of projects thus being more efficient in reducing arson in the West Midlands Region.

The WMRART will endeavour to secure funding to deal with arson in our region thus improving our joint capability to deal with arson making the region a safer community.
All the delegates will continue to work with all the UK Arson Task Forces/ Arson Reduction Teams and be guided by the Arson Control Forum.

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Arson

Arson is defined in Section 1 (3) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 – 'an offence committed under this section by destroying or damaging property by fire shall be charged with arson'.

Arson is the largest single cause of major fires in the UK. As a growing problem, it has attracted increasing and critical attention of the efforts to tackle it. At its worst, arson leads to loss of life and significant financial damage but persistent and pervasive minor arson also sets a strongly detrimental (and visually harmful) tone to communities. In some areas, arson now accounts for 70% of all fires, rising to 82% in certain localities.

Arson is a complex and serious crime and carries a maximum punishment of a life sentence. It has a wide variety of causes: vandalism; playing with fire; crime concealment; revenge; fraud; and mental illness to name just a few.

The number of arson fires both in their own right and as a proportion of the total has been increasing at a startling rate for some time. The number of malicious primary fires attended by the fire service has more than doubled over the past decade and now stands at over 85,000.

The number of arson casualties over the same period of time has shown a similar rate of increase.

Arson costs the economy £53.8 million pounds each week (£2.8 billion per year).

    There are 2,213 arson attacks weekly
  • Arson claims 2 lives and causes 53 injuries weekly
  • 20 schools and colleges are damaged or destroyed every week (Around 90,000 children are affected by arson annually)
  • 262 homes are damaged or destroyed by arson every year
  • 1,402 cars will be damaged or destroyed by arson this year
  • In the business world, arson is the single most common cause of fire, 360 non domestic and public buildings will be damaged or destroyed as a consequence of arson. That equates to 45% of all serious fires

Further information

Business Fire Safety and Crime Reduction Manager
Telephone: 01743 260 200