Home Office statistics show shocking number of attacks on firefighters

The Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Roy Wilsher has voiced his  anger that firefighters are being attacked while attending incidents.


It is shocking that firefighters who are attending incidents are being attacked while doing their jobs

Roy Wilsher

New statistics from the Home Office released today show almost 750 firefighters in England were attacked when attending operational incidents between April 2016 and March 2017.

 This is the first time these statistics have been released and the report gives information where the firefighters experienced an attack while attending operational incidents. This includes attending an incident and travelling to or from an incident.

 Roy Wilsher said: “It is shocking that firefighters who are attending incidents are being attacked while doing their jobs. All firefighters work tirelessly to keep communities safe, often putting their own lives in danger in the line of duty. I am both saddened and angry to see these figures.

 “Although attacks happen at a small percentage of incidents, any attack on firefighters is one too many and we cannot tolerate this continuing to happen. I am also deeply concerned by the number of attacks on our emergency service paramedic and police colleagues.”

 The Home Office produced the report in response to ‘The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill 2017–19’. It aims to give background information for future debates and providing quality assured and publicly available statistics. NFCC fully supports this bill and will work with partners to reduce attacks on emergency service and other public sector workers.

 The report ‘Statistics on the number of incidents involving an attack on firefighters: England, April 2016 to March 2017’ show: 

  • In 2016/17 there were 738 incidents involving an attack on firefighters, an increase of 116 on the previous year.
  • The total number has fluctuated since 2010/11, when there were 867 incidents involving an attack on firefighters.
  • The percentage of incidents where attacks have occurred has remained at around 0.1% of all incidents
  • The majority of incidents involving an attack involved verbal abuse (55%, 403 incidents in 2016/17)
  • A further 28 per cent involved objects being thrown at firefighters and /or appliances (206 incidents).
  • In 2016/17, there were 56 injuries in total from these 738 incidents.

Attacks recorded include: Harassment, Objects thrown at firefighters/appliances, verbal abuse, physical abuse and other acts of aggression.

 The statistics were sourced from the Home Office’s online Incident Recording System (IRS). It provides a count of the number of incidents that involved an attack on firefighters not the number of attacks, as more than one firefighter could have been attacked at one incident.

 Please see the full report.


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