Arson Reduction is a problem-solving team within Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service ​​dedicated to reducing and eliminating deliberate fire-setting. The team consists of a seconded Police Officer, a Fire Officer and three specialist arson advisors who ensure that all incidents are investigated and analysed to make our communities safer. The team works closely with its partners to target problematic areas and to consistently develop ways of reducing arson and to identify who or what may be affected.


The arson reduction project is supported by funding from Welsh Government.

What does fire setting look like within your community?
We have seen that arson not only destroys homes and lives, but it can devastate the environment. Reducing arson helps to protect the places we live, work, learn and spend our leisure time. We want to protect our communities from anti-social behaviour linked to fire setting, such as fly-tipping, dangerous or illegal waste burning and vandalism within schools and colleges In the last few years we have also seen an increase in the threat of arson arising from domestic abuse and violence in the home and through our collective aims, we will strive to both identify these events through wider awareness of each of the Joint Arson Group Partners to bring such perpetrators to justice while at the same time ensuring an effective response is in place to support victims of such a crime. We want to deliver a cultural shift across Wales so that communities view arson as socially unacceptable and are active in terms of community resilience.

The Welsh Arson Reduction Strategy​ lays out our approac​h to achieve a sustained reduction in the incidence and impact of arson across Wales. It has been developed by the Strategic Arson Reduction Board and it will be delivered by the Joint Arson Group.​

Arson and fire related crime can lead to:

Impact
The effects of wildfires are numerous and wide-ranging. They can have significant impacts on the economy, environment, heritage and social fabric of rural areas. Economic costs range from direct costs associated with emergency resources, to loss of income from the land following wildfire incidents and damage to property. For the firefighters, larger wildfires can be difficult to deal with due to terrain and accessibility. Sometimes, the extreme temperatures and longer travel distances carrying equipment make working conditions even harder. This can often mean that multiple crews are detained over several days meaning appliances must travel from further afield to attend other emergencies in the area affected.

What we do
The Arson Reduction Team and Farm Liaison Officer work with land management teams / Commoners / Graziers to introduce a Wildfire Policy – controlled burning (between 1st October and 31st March) and introduce fire breaks. We coordinate with partners to carry out patrols and surveillance in hot spot areas using technology such as UAV’s and CCTV for the prevention and detection of crime.

For more information read the The Heather and Grass Burning Code for Wales guidelines.

Impact
There are too many outdoor fires each year in Wales which require our emergency attendance and around half of all these outdoor fires involve refuse, rubbish and fly-tipped materials.

With an estimated average cost of between £1500 - £2000 for each attendance at such incidents, the annual cost to the Service is in the millions. Fly-tipping and illegal waste burning impact the community and degrade areas by increasing crime, affect people’s safety and health and well as adding strain to local resources through response and clean-up operations. 

What we do
We work closely with local authority’s waste enforcement, Natural Resources Wales and Fly-Tipping Action Wales to provide advice to the public on being responsible for their own waste / registered waste carriers and local amenity sites. The Team support initiatives and can assist and progress enforcement action for prosecution of perpetrators. We do this by sharing as much information as possible, identifying people that may be affected and make sure that people’s safety is a priority.

Impact
deliberately setting fire to property, including buildings and vehicles has a vast number of consequences. Whether it’s a car being set alight or a shed going up, someone, somewhere, somehow is likely to lose property. Emergency services must deal with the aftermath and numerous agencies must clean up and provide support to victims. 

What we do
The crime of arson is fundamentally dealt with by the Police, but we are actively involved from the outset. We work with other agencies to identify behaviours and trends that can lead to criminal damage and arson. Community engagement is also key for us to raise awareness and look at ways in which we can prevent as early as possible, respond effectively and support the people affected. The fire risks presented by abandoned vehicles are obvious and often act as a magnet for further anti-social behaviour which leads to the steady deterioration of our communities. The team collaborate in multi-agency projects that aim to prevent vehicles becoming abandoned as well as working towards identifying persons involved in or likely to commit vehicle arson. We do this with youth offending teams, neighbourhood policing and operational personnel through education, community awareness, collaboration and enforcement.

We also do more

We are also involved in a number of multi-agency campaigns that aim to tackle anti-social behaviour and its link with deliberate fire setting. We Co-ordinate, assess and collaborate for special operations such as “OP BANG” and “DAWNS GLAW” (RAIN DANCE)

We take an 'inclusive' approach to maintain and develop partnerships with other organisations and communities, help understand their needs and the impact of deliberate fire setting

The team recognises other impacts to advise and refer support mechanisms to other providers in relation to: people affected, disruption to the community, environmental and economic aspects

What can YOU do for your community?

Arson often devastates families, degenerates' areas attracting anti-social behaviour, upsets delicate eco-systems and ruins wildlife habitats, but you can help.

If you witness someone deliberately starting a grass fire, call the Police on 999 or find evidence of deliberate grass fire setting call the Arson Reduction team on 0370 6060 699 or email arson.reduction@mawwfire.gov.uk

If you hear of or suspect someone to be threatening to commit arson, then let someone else know

Fearless
Fearless is a site where young people  can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality. For more information visit the Fearless site.

Crimestoppers
Crimestoppers is an independent charity that gives people the power to speak up and stop crime – 100% anonymously. For more information visit the Crimestoppers website.

Have you seen any fly tipping, or do you know of someone offering to get rid of rubbish illegally? You could contact:

Your local Authority

Fly Tipping Action Wales
Fly-tipping Action Wales is a partnership initiative, sponsored by the Welsh Government & coordinated by Natural Resources Wales to tackle fly-tipping. For more information visit the Fly Tipping Action Wales website..