The Firestoppers service will allow people to anonymously report suspected arsonists in West Yorkshire

The service will be similar to Crimestoppers – which allows people to report crimes without having to provide their names or addresses.

It is one of several measures put in place by the West Yorkshire Fire Service to try to deal with people starting nuisance fires across the region.

And at a West Yorkshire Fire Authority meeting, members discussed the issue of anti-social behavior after hearing there had been a spike in secondary arson – fires involving rubbish or vegetation, during the hot summer months.

Scott Donegan, West Yorkshire Fire Service Regional Manager for Prevention and Response.

Much of this was due to low criminality or antisocial behavior.

When asked what was being done to address the problem, Scott Donegan, Regional Prevention and Response Manager for the West Yorkshire Fire Service, said: ‘We will be deploying FireStoppers soon – that will be the equivalent of Crimestoppers.

“This will allow people who know other people who usually start fires to contact us. These may be people in their peer groups or if they are concerned about the actions of their friends. They can pass on this information anonymously and we will act accordingly.

Introduced in the UK in the 1980s, Crimestoppers is a charity that enables people who are normally reluctant to contact the police to provide information about crimes.

A similar fire service has been rolled out to other fire departments in recent years.

Mr Donegan said other work had included firefighters engaging with young people in areas that have been hotspots for anti-social behavior and much work had been done in the Holme Wood area of ​​Bradford.

“We had a problem at Holme Wood which resulted in the theft of equipment from one of our fire apparatus.

“We visited the region and talked to young people about the usefulness of this equipment. This allowed them to understand the consequences of this theft.

“We work with Holme Wood neighborhoods to reduce anti-social behaviour. If we can build relationships and build trust with the young people there, that will help with prevention.

Figures given to members showed secondary arson had seen a huge spike in Leeds since April.

Between April and mid-September 2021, there were 693 such arson attacks in the district. During the same period this year, there had been 1,317.

Asked about it, Toby May, Leeds District Commander, said: ‘We are seeing increased levels of anti-social behavior in Leeds, even in areas where you wouldn’t expect anti-social behaviour.

However, he said those incidents had seen a “downtrend” in recent weeks due to the partnership working.

The meeting heard how the fire services were working with young people who are considered high risk ‘arsonists’.

Over the past year, the number of young people referred to fire departments for such concerns has increased from 89 to 103.

Donegan said the increase was due to the easing of Covid restrictions making it easier to engage with young people.

He said none of those young people that firefighters worked with after those dismissals continued their risky behavior.

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