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Friday, December 1, 2023

Fire service will focus on reducing number of car arsons after big rise

Firefighters will “focus their attention” on tackling the rising number of car fires in Bradford – particularly around the Bonfire period.

A new report has revealed that while the number of “secondary arsons” – the term used for unauthorised bonfires, decreased last November, the number of arsons involving cars almost doubled.

Because of this trend, there will be an extra focus on preventing such attacks when emergency services prepare for this year’s Bonfire night.

A recent report by Safer Bradford looks back on the 2022 Bonfire period, and reveals that while there was a reduction in many of the problems that plague Bradford over this period, there was a rise in car arsons as well as attacks on firefighters.

The report, recently presented to West Yorkshire Fire Service’s Community Safety Committee, says between 15 October and 15 November, there were 27 incidents where fireworks or other missiles were thrown at firefighters.

This compares to 16 across the other four Districts of West Yorkshire.

The report says: “Attacks on staff remains at a consistent level which is disappointing knowing the level of work and commitment delivered by partners within the community.

“Bradford District remains the worst performing in West Yorkshire.”

In the same period there were 123 deliberate secondary arsons – down from the 151 in the 2021 Bonfire period.

But the number of car arsons in that period was 29, almost double the number in 2021 (15).

Referring to these figures, the report says: “Deliberate secondary fires are down whilst we see a trend moving across to deliberate vehicle fires.

“West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will focus its attention on deliberate primary fire (property, such as cars or homes) across 2023.”

The report does suggest that the rise in car arson in the period may be more reflective of a general rise in such incidents throughout the past year, rather than specifically linked to Bonfire Night.

Throughout the Bonfire period the fire service, Bradford Council and organisations like Incommunities remove any flytipping that could be used by people looking to start an unauthorised bonfire.

But the report says: “Across Bradford a culture of fly tipping has developed prior to and across the bonfire period. This has resulted in hazardous waste within the community, dangerous fires with the potential to spread to properties and an expectation the Local Authority will clear it away.”

Referring to fireworks, the report acknowledges that current legislation makes it difficult to clamp down on nuisance usage.

It says: “With limited controls around the sales and access to fireworks, Bradford continues to see these used inappropriately, fired at public sector staff, and utilised to start fires within properties and vehicles.

“In addition, the use of fireworks has greater impacts on communities especially those with animals.”

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