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FIRE & RESCUE: Anti-social behaviour towards firefighters

FIRE & RESCUE: Anti-social behaviour towards firefighters

Firefighter At Night, Image: Tyne and Wear FRS

Firefighters in Leeds have been kicked, spat at and stoned while out on jobs during the past few months, a report has claimed.

A report, set to go before regional fire chiefs this week, even claims a “weapon” was used against a crew from the main Leeds city centre fire station.

Officers claim there were numerous attacks on the Leeds firefighters attending incidents from April to December 2021, with crews from Hunslet, Morley, Rawdon and Stanningley also having been targeted by thugs.

The figures add up to 33 incidents of assault overall across West Yorkshire, which the region’s chief fire officer has insisted everything will be done to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The report stated: “In Leeds there were nine attacks on firefighters at incidents. At one of these incidents a firefighter was kicked in the
head and at another incident firefighters were spat at. There was no damage caused to fire appliances during these attacks

“The chief fire officer re-emphasises that even one attack is one too many and that every assistance and encouragement will be given to the police to bring offenders to court. Work is continuing with a variety of agencies from the police and district councils to community groups and youth leaders to address these issues.”

It added that two incidents of stoning took place against crews from Leeds and Morley, while a “weapon” was brandished against a crew from Leeds city fire station, but did not offer further details.

According to the report, firefighters will be given “conflict management training” to quell any incidents, while body cameras were trialled over the busy bonfire period in November.

Despite the incidents, the number of assaults on fire officers appears to have dwindled over the years, after reaching a high of 92 during the 2017/18 municipal year, reducing to 68 in 2020/21 – the last full year for which data exists.

Members of the West Yorkshire Fire Authorirty will meet to discuss the report on Friday, December 17.

Words: Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter


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