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​What We Do

In an attempt to reduce arson, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has a dedicated Arson Reduction Team comprising of Fire & Police staff tasked with reducing deliberate fire setting within the Service area. The cost of Arson in Wales runs into millions of pounds, however the costs go beyond the purely financial; arson ruins lives, devastates families, and degenerates whole areas of our communities including our countryside and wildlife habitat.

The team covers the whole of the Service area working with the six Local Authorities and we often join forces with our partners such as the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission, as well as a host of community organisations with the common goal of reducing arson and the hazards in our community.

We are responsible for handling all issues relating to reducing risks and lighting fires deliberately, looking at why they are happening, identifying trends and areas of frequent activity, detecting those responsible and assisting Police to arrest and bring charges where appropriate. 

The team tackle a whole range of issues, including:

 

The Arson Reduction Team acts on information supplied regarding premises or areas that could be classed as hazardous sites. We investigate concerns and complaints where there is believed to be a potential hazard to the community, environment or emergency services. The information on hazardous sites can come from a number of different sources including our fire crews, Police, partners or members of the public. We have recently been working closely with the Environment Agency in many areas where we have received information on large quantities of tyres and tyre products being stored. Any genuine concern expressed about what appears to be a hazard will be investigated.

We will deal with all information received in a number of ways depending on the type and severity of the risk; this often involves working closely with our partners who may have greater legislative powers to solve the problem.

Any concerns should be reported to us via our online form.

Abandoned Cylinders​

Since its inception, the team has been involved in the removal of gas cylinders. Gas cylinders come in all shapes and sizes and contain a variety of gases, all of which pose their own hazards. Yet many are still abandoned in our communities. To reduce this risk, the Arson Reduction Team has devised protocols with the relevant gas companies to remove abandoned gas cylinders.

Any abandoned cylinders should be reported to us via our email:- arson.reduction@mawwfire.gov.uk

Derelict or void properties can be a focus of anti social behaviour and crime within our communities. They can be used for illicit drinking, drug use and other criminal activity.

These have also posed problems for Fire & Rescue Services who deploy resources to extinguish fires set inside. Hidden hazards contained inside these buildings will often pose a serious threat to the safety of emergency workers and the community at large who attend incidents in such properties.

The Arson Reduction Team rely on referrals from a number of sources including the Fire & Rescue Service, Police Service and members of the public and will work with Local Authority departments to get the premises secured as soon as possible.

Schools are often the target for vandals and arsonists. Fires in schools can cost millions of pounds to put right, even more to rebuild once destroyed. School fires have a devastating effect on pupils espe​cially on those who are working towards coursework and qualifications. Such events can also have an effect on the community with greater distances having to be travelled to get children to school each morning and at the end of the school day.

The Arson Reduction Team, in partnership with the Welsh Government and Local Education Authorities, has worked diligently to reduce the vulnerability of schools to this type of attack. We have been successful in securing funding to invest into target hardening projects. As a result the incidents of school fires in our service area is falling which is a trend not seen in other parts of the UK.

Wherever possible, School Management Teams should assess their vulnerability to such an attack and seek advice from us wherever possible.

​Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service  are committed to playing a key role in reducing the numbers of deliberate grassland and heath land fires we receive each year. The cost of each wildfire is estimated to be between £1,000 and £1,950 in Fire and Rescue Service time and resources.

 

Deliberate wildfires in Wales are the cause of damage to large areas of habitat, conservation areas, protected sites and species, some of which never recover. Wales is home to many rare and unique species of flora and fauna some of these are present in areas where grass, mountain and forest fires are a significant problem. There is also a risk to human life and property, each year families are evacuated from their homes as a result of someone deliberately setting fire to vegetation close to dwellings.

The Arson Reduction Team targets areas of high activity and looks to a range of measures to tackle the problem depending on the particular issues for the area. Our methods include running high visibility and high profile patrols, school talks and diversionary activity with young people, to meeting and discussing controlled burning with commoners and land owners.

Fly tipping is one of the more serious environmental crimes of our time, and one which the courts take a dim view. On the face of it, fly tipping appears to have little to do with fire setting, however, the Fire Service attends several hundred calls each year where items such as tyres and refuse have been ignited deliberately as a result of fly tipping. The Arson Reduction Team work closely with the Environment Agency and Local Authorities to identify hotspots and trends for all types of environmental crime, where a perpetrator is identified, the matter is referred to the relevant authority for prosecution.