Deliberate fire setting dropped by a third across Scotland in Spring last year – but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service says there is no room for complacency.
The national service mobilised firefighters to a total of 2,491 incidents of deliberate fire setting between March and April 2020 compared to 3,658 incidents in 2019 – a 32 per cent reduction.
The figures were released as the Service launches its annual Spring Safety campaign.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry, SFRS Head of Prevention and Protection said: “While any reduction in the number of deliberate fires is welcomed, we simply cannot be complacent.
“Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.
“One deliberate fire is one too many – they are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.”
The data shows how deliberate fires in Spring last year included 379 in the city of Glasgow (a decrease of 42%) 329 in North Lanarkshire (a decrease of 41%) and East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire 188 (decrease of 43%).
Most reported fires took place outdoors and were set in either grassland or rubbish and refuse, however some incidents also included vehicles and even buildings.
The significant reduction also coincided with Scotland’s first Covid-19 lockdown which introduced restrictions on movement which continue into Spring 2021.
DACO Perry said: “Last year we saw restrictions put in place on social movement, and this year is no different as we continue to tackle this pandemic.
“As well as limits on how far people can travel, we also know that schools, clubs and community groups are affected or unable to open due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.
“But as we cannot conduct school visits or engage with young people directly through clubs and groups, I would ask parents, guardians and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.
“It is vital we continue to remind people that deliberate fire setting is a crime and a criminal record can affect future life and job opportunities – a price that can be easily avoided.”
Anyone with information about deliberate fire-raising should contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers helpline on 0800 555 111.