Buckinghamshire fire crews attacked more than 100 times in past decade

Eight incidents of abuse against firefighters have been recorded in the past year
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Buckinghamshire firefighters have been attacked or verbally abused more than 100 times in just over a decade, figures show.

At least 8,600 attacks have been recorded by fire brigades across England since 2010-11 – and more than 500 firefighters have been injured as a result.

Home Office statistics show crews from the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service were at the centre of 123 of those incidents, with eight attacks recorded by the fire service in the year to March 2021.

Any attack on firefighters 'is something to be deplored', says Fire Brigades UnionAny attack on firefighters 'is something to be deplored', says Fire Brigades Union
Any attack on firefighters 'is something to be deplored', says Fire Brigades Union

In light of the figures, police chiefs vowed to use the full force of the law against those who subject emergency workers to "deplorable" attacks.

Since recording began just over a decade ago, three Buckinghamshire firefighters have been physically injured in attacks.

During that time, crews were subject to five incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on six occasions, had verbal abuse directed at them 93 times, experienced nine episodes of harassment and dealt with at least 10 other aggressive incidents.

Despite firefighters attending fewer incidents and fires during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, attacks increased nationally, with 934 recorded across England in 2020-21 compared to 899 the year before.

And the true figures could be higher, as those reported only reflect assaults experienced during operational incidents and do not take into consideration abuse that has taken place at or around fire stations or as crews are carrying out fire prevention work, for example.

General secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack, said: "Any attack on firefighters – who are providing a humanitarian service – is something to be deplored.

"It is paramount that fire and rescue services provide appropriate support to firefighters who are subject to such attacks, including taking into account any mental health effects of these incidents, and being understanding when it comes to sick leave.”

Verbal abuse is the most common type of attack recorded nationally, accounting for 57 per cent of incidents recorded by fire services since 2010-11.

Around a quarter of incidents involved objects being thrown at firefighters, while five per cent were physical attacks.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said it is never acceptable for anyone to be assaulted or harmed for doing their job.

He added: “Last year, the maximum jail term for attacking emergency workers was doubled.

"This sent a clear message that society will not tolerate abuse of our emergency workers.

"We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line.”