Police warning over attacks on fire crews
Firefighters have been promised the “full force of the law” after new figures show they were the target of nearly 40 attacks or verbal abuse last year.
As Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service gears up its busiest period of the hear, Home Office statistics show its crews were the victims of 37 attacks in the year to March and 512 incidents in the last decade.
The data shows that, since records began just over a decade ago, eight Tyne and Wear firefighters have been physically injured in attacks, crews were subjected to 11 incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on 236 occasions, suffered verbal abuse 219 times, experienced 14 episodes of harassment and dealt with at least 32 other aggressive incidents.
Nationally 8,600 attacks have been recorded by fire brigades since 2010-11 – and more than 500 firefighters have been injured.
Police chiefs have vowed to use the full force of the law against those who subject emergency workers to "deplorable" attacks.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said: “Last year, the maximum jail term for attacking emergency workers was doubled – a clear message that society will not tolerate abuse of our emergency workers.
"We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those on the front line.”
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "Any attack on firefighters – who are providing a humanitarian service – is something to be deplored.
"It is paramount that fire and rescue services provide appropriate support to firefighters who are subject to such attacks.”