Anonymous FireStoppers tip-off service launched after surge in arson attacks
Three of the region’s fire services have joined forces to launch an anonymous hotline for information on deliberate fires.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) have come together to launch FireStoppers after a significant increase in the number of deliberate fires they’re dealing with.County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services dealt with 2695 deliberate fires last year.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has seen a 21.5% increase in the number of deliberate fires reported in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 5722 deliberate fires from April 2018 to March 2019, which is an increase of 2%.
A spokesperson for the three forces said that these fires are placing additional stress on our emergency services. FireStoppers will allows people who have information on deliberate fires to report them via a telephone line or an online form anonymously, and will be managed by CrimeStoppers which operates in a similar way.
The report would then be sent to the appropriate police force to investigate, without any details of the caller being passed on.
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Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mark McCarty said: “The new FireStoppers programme gives people the power to speak up anonymously and help reduce the amount of deliberate fires within our area.
"Our crews spend a lot of time dealing with arson attacks when our time could be better spent elsewhere.
“Deliberate fires affect all of our communities, this new initiative will no doubt help reduce the impact and let us focus on our prevention and protection work across the county.
“These fires present life-risks to those setting the fires and anyone in the vicinity of the fire.”
The fire services have said that arson attacks have become a blight on the community and a number of areas and facilities have been put out of use because of arson attacks.