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Number of arson attacks falls in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:15 17 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:21 03 July 2010

ARSON attacks in Norfolk have fallen by eight per cent, councillors will hear next week.

The authority's fire and community protection overview and scrutiny panel meets at County Hall on Tuesday and members will hear how the council's fire and rescue service has significantly reduced arson within the county.

ARSON attacks in Norfolk have fallen by eight per cent, councillors will hear next week.

The authority's fire and community protection overview and scrutiny panel meets at County Hall on Tuesday and members will hear how the council's fire and rescue service has significantly reduced arson within the county.

A report by chief fire officer and director of community protection, Richard Elliott, states that reported arson in Norfolk fell by 8pc between 2002/03 and 2006/07 and outlines some of the work the service continues to do to drive those figures down.

The report says 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 and significant financial damage. The report goes on to say that arson is a complex and serious crime with a wide variety of causes including vandalism, playing with fire and covering up crime.

Members will hear about the variety of initiatives the service has introduced to help tackle the problem including appointing an arson reduction officer; environmental action days and car clear schemes, which help remove potential arson targets such as abandoned cars; and multi-agency initiatives which help remove potential targets such as rubbish and education with more than 10,000 Norfolk children receiving fire safety education each year.

Members will also hear about the work of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and its work on firework sales in partnership with the fire and rescue service and Norfolk Police.

A report by head of Trading Standards, David Collinson, highlights the work, which is undertaken as part of the service's minor sales, major consequences initiative.

The report outlines how the joint initiative's aims include ensuring businesses selling fireworks are licensed or registered, comply with regulations and do not sell to under 18s.

During the most recent initiative, in the run up to November 5, 123 educational/ enforcement visits to businesses were carried out. It found that businesses have a clear understanding of their responsibilities with the vast majority showing a high level of compliance, members will hear. No illegal underage sales were made during the Trading Standards' test purchasing programme and some isolated storage problems were rectified through advice.

Richard Rockcliffe, cabinet member for fire and community protection, said: “Both these reports highlight on-going work to help make our already safe county even safer. Reducing arson and controlling the sale of fireworks are both hugely important. Not only do these initiatives help keep the county safe and remove potential hazards from our communities but they also help reduce such things as antisocial behaviour.”

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