Operation Clean Sweep to tackle anti-social behaviour in Hendon

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council and housing provider Gentoo are working together to address anti-social behaviour in the Hendon area of Sunderland.

On Monday 15th October, representatives launched the two-day initiative – Operation Clean Sweep – at ‘Back on the Map’ in Hendon, with the aim of preventing deliberate fires and to educate local businesses on arson prevention. In addition TWFRS will have firefighters, prevention and education teams, fire safety and volunteers on hand over today and tomorrow to conduct Home Safety Checks at addresses where we believe properties have not received a check, or where we understand there are no smoke alarms.

Our operational crews will be targeting local businesses to provide information on arson prevention and the importance of reporting fly-tipping to the local council.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Area Manager – Community Safety, Lynsey McVay commented:

“Our statistics show that Hendon is one of the highest recording wards in Sunderland for deliberate secondary fires.  Since April 2017 our crews have attended 237 deliberate fires in the area.

Not only do deliberate fires present huge risks to the perpetrators, cause damage to local properties and the environment, they also present a challenge to us. If we are attending deliberate fires, we are unavailable to attend other fires or emergencies.

Parents can’t always know where there children are, but they can talk to them about the risks – risks that could leave them scarred for life or end up with a criminal record. Deliberately starting fires can quickly turn into something very serious.”

Sunderland City Council will also be delivering a leaflet on household refuse and the facts occupiers need to know on refuse disposal and collection.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, ward member for Hendon, Councillor Michael Mordey added:

“Working with our local businesses and residents, we will do everything we can to help prevent anti-social behaviour and the fly-tipping that can lead to deliberate fires and arson.

“If we all work together to report any problems and help identify those responsible, we can hopefully deter anyone from committing criminal acts.

“We need to warn people to be more careful with disposing of their household and commercial refuse, and also about what might happen if they aren’t with people potentially setting it on fire.

“Hopefully using a combination of education and enforcement we can get the message across, and also provide local households any support and advice they need on fitting smoke alarms.”

TWFRS outreach Vehicle will act as the “hub” and will be located at the junction of Corporation Road.

Inspector Jamie Southwell, of Northumbria Police, said: “We are totally committed to taking a firm approach to help reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and make our residents and businesses feel safe.

“This is another example of the work we are carrying out alongside partners to tackle fire-related anti-social behaviour which is committed by a minority but can have a significant effect on those living and working in the area.

“Communities should not have to put up with the anti-social behaviour of a few individuals, and we would urge anybody who has any concerns to speak to us. By working together with the public and our partners, we can tackle this problem head-on.”