Fire service backs county 'Hate Crime' initiative

Leading firefighter Rob Cartwright and firefighter Rus D'Arcy distribute leaflets on hate crime to students at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College with 'Hate crime - we won't tolerate it' on Shrewsbury fire appliances|Jamie Kirkham and Charlotte Dury, both 16 with firefighter Grant Heaps

Fire officers in Shropshire are backing a campaign to fight "hate crime" which is on the increase in the county.

There have been two major incidents of such crime involving fire in the county in which a man's Shrewsbury home was deliberately targeted by fireraisers and a petrol bomb was thrown at a Telford mosque.

Hoax 999 calls aimed at deliberately sending fire appliances to people's homes have also diverted firefighters from real emergencies.

Divisional Officer Mike Ablitt said that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service would be supporting the Shropshire Partnership "We won't Tolerate It" initiative to address the increasing problem of crime motivated by prejudice or hate.

"As a fire service we are involved in not only putting out fires but also preventing them from happening in the first place. Successful community fire safety education from our firefighters has helped us to vastly reduce the number of fires in Shropshire.

"We want this trend to continue and we want to give all our support to the Shropshire Partnership in preventing such crimes."

Firefighters, who already give out fire safety information as part of fire prevention home safety checks, will be distributing county council leaflets on hate crime in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms, Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Newport, Telford, Oswestry and Whitchurch.

The initiative will be launched at the Shirehall on November 15 involving county and district councils and police in a bid to combat a reported 23 per cent increase in "hate crimes" in the county in 2005/2006 compared with the previous 12 months.

14th November, 2006