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Arson attacks drop by 40pc

PUBLISHED: 09:56 28 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:30 03 July 2010

Arson attacks in Norfolk have nearly halved in the last six years according to figures revealed on Tuesday.

A report to the county council's fire and community protection overview and scrutiny panel showed that the number of arson incidents have plummeted by more than 40pc.

Arson attacks in Norfolk have nearly halved in the last six years according to figures revealed on Tuesday.

A report to the county council's fire and community protection overview and scrutiny panel showed that the number of arson incidents have plummeted by more than 40pc.

Figures projected to the end this financial year on March 31 show 1,622 incidents in 2008/09 compared to 2,713 in 2002/03 when the service launched a campaign to slash the number of attacks.

The aim was to reduce incidents by 20pc before 2010 and a report by Andy Lyle, area manager for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, on behalf of chief fire officer Richard Elliott, showed the target had already been well exceeded.

A campaign to reduce the number of incidents included an education programme, with more than 10,000 Norfolk children receiving fire safety education each year, and investment in management information systems enabling analysis of key data such as hot spots. Car clear schemes to remove the potential arson targets of abandoned vehicles were also organised and multi-agency environmental initiatives to clear rubbish were launched.

In Thetford, where an arson reduction officer to focus on specific local issues was appointed, incidents have seen a 66pc drop.

Mr Lyle told the meeting that the campaign had been based on “prevention, education, protection and investigation”.

The report stated that arson is the single largest cause of major fires in the UK and is a problem which, at its most extreme, can lead to loss of life.

Steven Dorrington, chairman of the panel, praised the report.

He told Mr Lyle: “It is full of common sense, it is a breath of fresh air and a credit to yourself and other fire officers and I'd like to congratulate you all.”

But the panel's spokesman David Callaby said while the report was good news the service should also focus on ensuring large targets like the Tattersall tyre mountain are protected from arsonists and that retained cover is improved.

Fire chiefs have also called on householders and businesses to continue to be vigilant and to help remove the temptation or risk or potential targets where possible.

And they have appealed to would be offenders to think of the consequences for the surrounding neighbourhood and warned that all fires are thoroughly investigated.

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