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22/08/13 09:35

Attacks on firefighters declining

Community Safety Minister welcomes figures showing fall.

The number of attacks on fire and rescue service staff when called out to an incident decreased by almost 30 per cent last year.

Fire and Rescue Services Statistics published today also show 56,251 home fire safety visits were carried out in 2012/13, around one for every 45 homes in Scotland.

The figures are the final set on the eight fire and rescue services which became the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on April 1, 2013.

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the fall in attacks on firefighters, but said that 80 incidents is still far too high:

“Our firefighters across Scotland do a fantastic job and should be able to carry out their duties protecting the public free from any kind of assault or harassment. Despite a drop of almost 30 per cent in the number of attacks on service staff last year, any attack is utterly unacceptable and at 80, the number of incidents is still too high.

“While we welcome this reduction, every attack is one too many. Firefighters and indeed all public facing staff, should be able to go about their daily working lives without the threat of attack. We support police, prosecutors and courts to use the full force of the law to bring anyone guilty of such offences to justice.

“It is also great to see fire and rescue services carrying out their fire prevention role so effectively, carrying out audits on businesses, safety visits in homes and installing more than 44,000 smoke alarms last year for the public.”

Chief Officer Alasdair Hay said:

“Improving the safety of our communities and staff is key to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“It is pleasing to note the fall in attacks on our firefighters, who are valued members of our communities and who should be able to respond to incidents without fear of attack.

“We will continue our work to educate and empower the people of Scotland to prevent and protect themselves from fires and build on the prevention programme that saw us carry out 56,251 home fire safety visits and 7,994 fire safety audits on businesses last year.

“Our focus will remain on improving the safety and wellbeing of people throughout Scotland and we will work closely with our partners to deliver real improvements to meet the local needs of our communities.”

Notes to editors

Under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005, anyone found guilty of attacking personnel undertaking emergency responses can face fines of up to £10,000 and /or one year’s imprisonment.

Fire and Rescue Services Statistics