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Attacks on UK firefighters highest since records began


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According to the latest Home Office figures, almost one thousand UK firefighters were attacked while attending incidents, putting attacks on firefighters at their highest since records began.

Between March 2021 and April 2022, 983 incidents were reported – which is an increase of five per cent on the previous year. These resulted in 60 injuries, with some requiring a hospital stay.  Around 20 per cent of attacks take place around Bonfire Night, and services are reporting attacks throughout the year.

In a recent incident, crews in Tyne and Wear were called to a car fire which was a pile of rubbish which had been set alight. Firefighters were then barricaded in and attacked with petrol bombs, glass bottles and rubble. Police also came under attack when they arrived.

Chris Lowther, NFCC’s Chair of Operations Committee and Chief Fire Officer for Tyne and Wear said:  “To see attacks is abhorrent and to see the numbers are at their highest ever is disgraceful. Firefighters are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters – they do not deserve to be treated like this.  

“If a firefighter is injured or a fire appliance is damaged, fire services have less people and resources available. This is putting lives in danger; our blue light services are here to keep people safe. 

“I am urging everyone to treat our firefighters with respect and for parents, teachers and adults to drive this message home. Attacking a firefighter or damaging a fire engine could be the difference between our crews being able to reach a fire.”  

Lowther also called for stronger sentences to handed down by the courts in instances where restorative justice has not worked: “Jail sentences for attacks on emergency services workers are very rare; this needs to change to send a clear message this will not be tolerated.” 

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