Arson in South Yorkshire has halved in the last three years, with the fire service crediting its ongoing community interventions with the big drop in anti-social behaviour incidents.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue attended 2,527 small, deliberate incidents like bin and grass fires in 2014/15- half the number it attended three years ago (5,082). Twelve years ago, in 2003/04, the figure was even higher- 11,303.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “Deliberate fires still make up around three quarters of all the incidents we attend, but our ongoing arson reduction work continues to bring the numbers down.
“We are convinced that engaging with young people through targeted interventions like youth club work, education initiatives and fire station based learning projects is one of the best ways of building lasting, positive relationships which have long term benefits in terms of reducing these unnecessary incidents. This ensures our fire engines are available to attend life threatening incidents.”
Recent initiatives include a youth project held at Rotherham fire station, which aimed to highlight the consequences of anti-social behaviour and provide an intensive multi-agency work experience course to improve the life chances of the young people involved.
Arson cycle teams patrol known trouble spots during peak times of the year, speaking to youngsters about the consequences of arson.
Firefighters also deliver education packages to schools and safety teams visit youth clubs to deter fire setting.