Figures show decrease in deliberate fire raising in Falkirk

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has reported a significant drop in the number of deliberate fires set in the Falkirk area and the rest of the country.

By James Trimble
Monday, 22nd February 2021, 12:20 pm

SFRS mobilised firefighters to a total of 2491 incidents of deliberate fire-raising between March and April 2020 compared to 3658 incidents in 2019 – a 32 per cent reduction.

In Falkirk – incorporating West Lothian – there were 190 incidents of deliberate fires between February 25 and April 22 last year.

For the entire year of 2018/2019 there were 327 incidents of deliberate fires in the Falkirk area.

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The number of deliberate fires decreased during last year's lockdown

Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry, head of prevention and protection, said: “While any reduction in the number of deliberate fires is welcomed, we simply cannot be complacent.

“Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties. One deliberate fire is one too many – they are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.”

Recent incidents of deliberate fire raising in the Falkirk area include a portable toilet being torched at a building site in Grangemouth’s Zetland Park in January.

The significant reduction in deliberate fires last year coincided with Scotland’s first COVID-19 lockdown which introduced restrictions on movement that are continuing into Spring 2021.

Deputy assistant chief officer Perry said: “Last year we saw restrictions put in place on social movement, and this year is no different as we continue to tackle this pandemic.

“As well as limits on how far people can travel, we also know that schools, clubs and community groups are affected or unable to open due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.

“But as we cannot conduct school visits or engage with young people directly through clubs and groups, I would ask parents, guardians and carers to help by making sure children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.”

Anyone with information about deliberate fire-raising should contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers helpline on 0800 555 111.

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