Fire crews in Sheffield and South Yorkshire attacked hundreds of times

South Yorkshire firefighters have been attacked or verbally abused hundreds of times in just over a decade, figures show.

By Joanna Morris, Data Reporter
Thursday, 28th October 2021, 11:46 am
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 11:46 am
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
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

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 South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were at the centre of 281 of those incidents, with 32 attacks recorded by the fire service in the year to March.

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.

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Since recording began just over a decade ago, 11 South Yorkshire firefighters have been physically injured in attacks.

During that time, crews were subject to 11 incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on 75 occasions, had verbal abuse directed at them 165 times, experienced six episodes of harassment and dealt with at least 24 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.

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 spokesperson for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Attacks on our crews put our firefighters, and the public they are trying to protect, at risk. Thankfully, this type of incident is very rare in South Yorkshire and it’s only a small minority of people who would ever consider acting in such a reckless, irresponsible and dangerous way.

“However, just one attack on a firefighter is one attack too many. They are completely unacceptable and we will always work very closely, and passionately, alongside police colleagues to fully investigate any attacks – ensuring those responsible are brought to justice.”