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Arson is a crime and should be reported to the police

Arson is a crime and should be reported to the police

At the beginning of Arson Awareness week, the Arson Prevention Forum has issued ‘Top Ten’ messages to cut down the risk of arson.

Lee Howell, Chairman of the Arson Prevention Forum said “Every year there are too many deliberate fires some of which result in serious injury as well as causing millions of pounds worth of damage to property. Arson is a crime and whilst arson activity is falling, it causes untold misery to those it affects. By working together, Police, Fire Services and Insurers aim to reduce the level of arson still further but we need individuals and businesses to be aware of the risks and do something about them”.

10 key messages to cut down on the risk of Arson.

1. Ensure you include the impact of arson in your workplace fire risk assessment. A large percentage of businesses fail to return to trading following a fire.

2. Schools can be soft targets for arson. The impact on both the local community and pupils are potentially devastating. Speak to your local police crime prevention officer, they may be able to offer advice as to how you can protect (target harden) your building.

3. Report accumulated or abandoned refuse to your local council. Don’t let it become a target for arson.

4. Anti-social behaviour is often a precursor to arson. Report such behaviour through your local neighbourhood policing team, neighbourhood watch team or through Crimestoppers.

5. Protect your commercial property. Seek advice on security, good lighting and CCTV will often acts as a deterrent to the criminal.

6. Visit your fire service’s web-site or the local fire station and speak to them about Arson in your area. They are there to help.

7. When closing down your business adopt a thorough closedown procedure considering:

  • External doors are locked
  • Internal doors are closed
  • No unauthorised persons are left on the premises
  • Alarms are switched on
  • No accumulation of waste or rubbish

8. Take responsibility and think of ways in which someone could start a fire inside or outside of your property. Act on any issues you find.

9. Arson attacks on farms and small holdings do happen. Take simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of this happening. Lighting around barns and outbuildings will deter the opportunist thief and the would-be arsonist.

10. As a parent or guardian contact your local fire service if you identify a child has been playing with matches within the home. They will often have helpful programmes to ensure child play behaviour doesn’t escalate to a serious fire.

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Published May 2014