>> 7 August 2009

Fraserburgh & District SNP councillor Brian Topping has welcomed the results of a joint Scottish Government/Grampian Fire & Rescue Service campaign cracking-down on deliberate fire setting in Grampian which has achieved a 22% reduction in the number of incidents recorded.

The campaign, which ran from 22 June – 19 July, urged communities to stand up to those who deliberately set fires by anonymously reporting any incidents they witnessed to Crimestoppers, and provided locals with information on how to help prevent these fires occurring. This resulted in the number of fire setting incidents fall to 33, compared to the 42 incidents recorded over the same period in the previous year.

The campaign, run by Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and supported by the Scottish Government, targeted five postcode areas known to have the highest incidence of deliberate fire setting, including AB16, AB11, AB24 (areas of Aberdeen), AB43 (Fraserburgh), and IV30 (Elgin).

Over 43,000 households in these areas were provided with leaflets outlining the scale of the problem. This was supported by a radio advertising campaign, advertising in local phone boxes, and the use of advertising vans in the community to raise awareness of the dangers and encourage reporting.

Following the success of the work in Grampian, the Scottish Government will now work with Scottish fire and rescue services to identify other hotspot fire setting areas, in a bid to tackle the problem which accounts for over 80 fires a day, puts lives at risk and ties up valuable resources.

Commenting, Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board member Cllr Brian Topping said:

"Fire-raising costs the taxpayer a huge amount of money and has the potential to endanger lives either directly, or through diverting our dedicated firefighters from other emergencies.

"I am therefore very pleased indeed with the results achieved by this initiative in reducing the number of deliberately-set fires, although there are still far too many of this type of incident.

"I hope that heightened public awareness of this issue through the good work done my the members of our local fire and rescue service, supported by the Scottish Government, will lead to a further reduction in this sort of criminal act."

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