South Wales Fire and Rescue Service teams up with Crimestoppers and Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle abuse.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) has seen a 158% increase in the number of attacks against crews. In the last 12 months, figures have risen from 12 to 31, with 9 attacks alone in November 2016.
Crews throughout the Service area have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse and had objects, including bricks and fireworks, thrown at them as they’ve responded to incident calls in local communities. Areas with the highest number of offences include Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff and Newport.
The Service is now working with Crimestoppers and Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner to help reduce the number of attacks and bring offenders to justice.
Matthew Jones, Head of the Fire Crime Unit at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Our job is to save lives and protect property, but when we’re responding to emergency calls the last thing our firefighters expect is to be assaulted.“Firefighters put their lives on the line to keep communities safe and to be treated with such a lack of respect sometimes is, quite frankly, appalling.
“We have a zero tolerance approach to these attacks and people behind them are committing a serious crime. Those responsible will be reported, caught and dealt with accordingly by our police colleagues.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, added, “These attacks are totally unacceptable and this type of criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Gwent.
“People who work for the emergency services have very demanding roles and I just can’t fathom why anybody would want to physically attack people whose very purpose it is to help keep our communities safe – it just goes beyond reasoning.
“These mindless attacks are carried out by a small minority, but unfortunately put communities across south Wales at serious risk by endangering lives.
“This is not harmless fun and could potentially have serious consequences.”
Ella Rabaiotti Wales Regional Manager at Crimestoppers commented, “If you have any information on attacks against fire crews in South Wales, you can report anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers by phoning us on 0800 555 111 or through our website Crimestoppers-uk.org.
“Tell us what you know, not who you are.”
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is asking communities to be vigilant and report any attacks to the police or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Notes to editors:
Figures calculated from April 2016-March 2017
- 15 incidents involved objects being thrown at firefighters/appliances- 10 incidents involved verbal abuse- 4 incidents involved other acts of aggression- 1 incident involved physical abuse- 1 incident occurred outside of the Service area over the border
Tel: 01443 232000 Fax: 01443 232165
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