August 23, 2012

Assaults on Scottish fire fighters decrease

Two news items cover the release of new Scottish Government figures that reveal attacks on firefighters have fallen by more than a third in the last year.

According to the figures, crews were attacked 112 times in 2011-12, with one person injured, down 35% on the previous year when 172 attacks were recorded and 14 firefighters were injured.

The most common form of attack last year was objects thrown at firefighters or their appliances, which happened on 50 occasions.

Firefighters were subject to verbal abuse 38 times in 2011-12 and physical abuse nine times, while eight cases of harassment and seven other acts of aggression were logged.

However, the fire service union has said the problem of attacks on personnel is much bigger but is underreported because firefighters have come to accept abusive behaviour as part of the job.

A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union Scotland commented: “There is almost an assumption by crews that they will be verbally if not physically abused while doing their job. I suspect these numbers are where the incidents are reasonably serious. Nine out of ten incidents, where fire personnel are verbally abused in the street, probably don’t get reported. Unfortunately, it’s seen as part and parcel of the job and it’s that culture that we need to tackle and that we need to change.”

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