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Number of deliberate fires in Scotland “absolutely unacceptable”

There’s been a small decrease in the number of deliberate fires set across Scotland.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 2,782 blazes across the country between March and April 2017.

That’s a fall of 1.7% on the previous year.

But the figures were branded “absolutely unacceptable” by Assistant Chief Officer David McGown.

He spoke out as the service launch a new Spring safety campaign, which aims to identify those responsible.

ACO McGown said, “Firefighters exist to protect their communities and yet they are being put at risk by a very small minority of people within those communities who deliberately set fires.

“Let’s be very clear – fire can cause injury, damage properties and affect the environment, not to mention the potential impact on businesses and the economy.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service therefore operates a strict zero tolerance approach to deliberate fire raising.

“We will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to ensure that those responsible are identified and dealt with accordingly.”

“It absolutely goes without saying that we prefer to prevent fires – not fight fires.

“As a result, our firefighters work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages, and parents and carers can also help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks.

“Ensuring you are aware of where the children or young people you look after are and what they’re doing can help keep everyone safe from deliberate fires.”

“Deliberate fires are not only reckless and dangerous, but can divert SFRS resources away from genuine emergencies where people require our help.

“However, through robust and flexible strategic planning, our crews are always ready to respond to any incident to keep our communities safe.

“I urge the public to continue to support their firefighters by reporting any fire related anti-social behaviour because there are always people out there in need of our assistance at genuine emergencies – and every second counts.”

The free and confidential Crimestoppers helpline can also be contacted on 0800 555 111 or through their website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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