Concern at arson rise

PUBLISHED: 16:43 10 August 2007 | UPDATED: 22:58 28 May 2010

Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll

THE high number of arsons across Cambridgeshire has been highlighted as one of the fire service s main concerns. Over the past year, 2,413 deliberate fires were started in the county, compared with 2,381 the previous year. But, despite the number of inten

THE high number of arsons across Cambridgeshire has been highlighted as one of the fire service's main concerns.

Over the past year, 2,413 deliberate fires were started in the county, compared with 2,381 the previous year.

But, despite the number of intentional vehicle fires dropping, arson to homes has increased along with the number of small fires such as bin fires.

The details are included in the service's best value performance report, just released, which says: "Arson reduction work remains a priority during 2007/08 and the service will continue to address arson at a local level."

Although the number of automatic fire alarms (AFAs) attended by the fire service was down last year - 4,597 in 2005/06 to 4,502 in 2006/07 - the number still puts Cambridgeshire as having more AFAs per 1000 non-domestic premises than anywhere else in the country. The service is now implementing a programme to address this.

Firefighters also attended more fires last year - 4,152 in 2006/07 compared with 4,030 in 2005/06 - but Tom Carroll, chief fire officer at Cambs Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The heatwave we experienced last summer resulted in us dealing with a significant increase in outside fires and AFAs during that period.

"Although many of the fires during that time were caused accidentally through carelessly discarded cigarettes and out-of-control bonfires, a large number were started deliberately, putting lives and wildlife at risk and tying up already stretched resources.

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