Stop the arson toll or suffer

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JUST what is it going to take before the idiots who deliberately start fires learn their lesson?

We struggle to comprehend the stupidity of such individuals, but reports of their handiwork makes depressing reading.

Arson attacks in South Yorkshire increased dramatically this summer, with yobs responsible for 1,317 blazes across the county - double last year’s toll.

An increase during the six-week school break was feared and was not helped by the fact that July was one of the driest on record for 25 years.

That may have led to fires taking hold and spreading more easily than before. But the arsonists also got in on the act.

No wonder fire chiefs say they were ‘disappointed’ by the increase. Once again, they have to warn that arsonists are putting lives at risk by tying up crews with nuisance fires when they may be needed elsewhere.

The only happy ending to this story will be if the arsonists stop. If they don’t, expect a tragedy. It’s that simple.

Police chief must show his savings

THE Chief Constable Med Hughes travels to London tomorrow to argue the case against cuts to force funding.

The police authority has to deliver £41m in savings over the next four years - a figure he believes will lead to an increase in crime as his officers will struggle to cover the ground they currently do.

He is supported by the Police Federation who argue that the cuts will leave the force dilapidated, demoralised and a fragment of its current state.

But Mr Hughes will be making his case against the context of a national report claiming far too many uniformed officers are still carrying out office duties.

The Cost of the Cops report, published by The Policy Exchange think-tank, claims that £500m has been spent since 2006 employing 7,000 officers who aren’t “out policing”.

It is yet another report which misses the point about the role of officers who are dealing with far more complex policing demands than it recognises, such as anti-terrorism and organised crime - which require desk work.

However, Mr Hughes does need to explain what efficiencies have been achieved through better working with other forces and other public bodies, before he makes the case that jobs have to be cut.

The perfect day

FAMILY fun at a great day out which raised plenty of money for charity - perfect.

That was the story for Ecclesfield Gala, where all efforts boosted the coffers of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Congratulations to all involved.