Fire and Rescue Services, together with the Arson Prevention Forum, are calling on everyone to play their part in tackling fire-crime for Arson Awareness Week.
Members of the public have been urged to report fire-setting or suspicious activity to the police. In addition, police and fire arson investigators are asking the public to record videos or photos of any fires where suspicious activity is suspected.
“Arson accounts for almost half of all fires attended by the fire and rescue services and can have devastating effects in terms of its cost and consequences,” said Lee Howell, the Forum’s Independent Chairperson.
He added: “The Forum brings together those with a responsibility or interest in reducing arson and challenges them to do more. We have seen progress, but there is still work to be done. This is where members of the public can help.
“Arson is a significant drain on our resources and can put lives in danger, destroy buildings and be devastating. Arson must be reported. If you see anyone setting a fire deliberately, 'don't accept it, report it’.”
Andy Justice, Fire Investigation Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “With the help of members of the public and the police, arsonists are being actively sought and sentenced by the courts.”
Insurers report that arson costs over £1 billion in fire-related claims each year. Damage to property, business interruption and other inconvenience caused by arson is significant. Deliberate fires cost a vast amount of money, but also endanger life, with a significant number of lives lost as a result. In 2014/15, 50 people died in fires that were started deliberately.