'Zero tolerance' call after six firefighters are attacked over Bonfire Night period

Councillors have called for "zero tolerance" to be shown after six Tyne and Wear firefighters were attacked in the days around Bonfire Night.

Tyne and Wear firefighters tackling a recent blaze.
Tyne and Wear firefighters tackling a recent blaze.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service chiefs reported they were “very busy in peaks and troughs” on November 5 although “at no time” were they overwhelmed.

However the authority’s policy and performance committee heard on Monday that six firefighters were attacked from November 1 to 6, up from four last year.

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Cllr Nick Forbes, the chair of the meeting, who is also leader of Newcastle City Council, said the attacks were “sickening”, adding: “We want a zero tolerance approach to this and we want police to take every incident like this seriously.

“Six incidents is six too many, and I would hope that each one of these incidents, no matter how insignificant it may feel, is being properly investigated.”

Three of the incidents occurred in Newcastle, while three were in North Tyneside.

Peter Heath, deputy chief fire officer, said they had worked with partners and schools ahead of Bonfire Night to help manage the risk.

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He said: “We did see a level of activity that tested us, but didn’t push us beyond what we were capable of dealing with.

“I would describe it as we were very busy in peaks and troughs, but at no time was it overwhelmed or were we stacking calls.

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“It was a fairly quiet-ish bonfire night, and I don’t say that lightly.”

He added they will continue to work with police to attempt to identify culprits.

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Early figures show a decrease in calls, incidents, deliberate secondary fires and firework related primary fires compared to last year.

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