Deliberate fires almost double as Cleveland Fire Brigade chiefs target hotspots in Hartlepool
Fire brigade bosses have laid out plans to tackle arson in Hartlepool after the number of incidents rose by 94% compared to the same period last year, the latest figures reveal.
Figures from the Hartlepool Community Safety Team said from April to June 2019 there was 231 deliberate fires in the town, a rise of 94% compared to the same period last year, when there was 124.
Cleveland Fire Brigade chiefs said at a recent Audit and Governance Committee meeting that arson in Hartlepool rose by 51% to 627 between April 2018 and March 2019 and was estimated to cost the town £2.9million.
Speaking at the latest Safer Hartlepool Partnership meeting, Kevin Harrison from Cleveland Fire Brigade gave a breakdown of the latest figures and how they are looking to improve.
He added a hotspot area was Seaton Carew around the dunes, but noted issues across the town such as in Victoria and Headland and Harbour wards.
He said: “We have a few hotspot areas which we are working on around the town.
“Our strategy to deal with that is we have our small fire units who ride around the area on a daily basis and visit these areas which are hotspots to try and discourage the fires.
“We have our community education teams going into schools on a regular basis to try and educate young children not to set fires.
“In addition to that we now send fire appliances as well to try and rebuild that rapport.
“Our hub team is working very closely with the Community Safety Team in addressing the fire setting issues.
“We do education and home fire safety visits, we put wheelie bin stickers on bins to tell people to move their refuse and put the bins back in as quick as possible. “
He added the incidents are predominantly refuse fires and grass fires, with copper wire often at the scene of some of the incidents.
Rachel Parker, from the Community Safety Team, made up of officers from agencies including the council, police and fire brigade, gave an example of action taken following a recent spate of fire at Summerhill.
She said: “All of those young people have attended the fire brigades fire setting intervention and are undertaking restorative activities up at Summerhill, by way of fixing fences, litter picking etc.
“We’ve had no further reports of anti-social behaviour involving those young people since those interventions were put in place.”
She said similar activities have taken place involving incidents at Rossmere Park and Burn Valley Park.
She added there will be a presentation from the fire brigade at the next meeting which will provide more information around the work they are doing to address the issue along with the Community Safety Team.