Statement from the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority Chairperson on attacks on Firefighters over the Bonfire period

Councillor Phil Tye, Chairperson of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority (TWFRA), has today condemned attacks on firefighters after hearing about seven attacks on firefighters over the recent bonfire period.

This condemnation was echoed by every member of the Fire and Rescue Authority who stated that it was beyond comprehension as to why anyone would abuse firefighters or indeed any emergency worker.

During the November Fire Authority meeting last week, the Chief Fire Officer reported that, whilst most people in communities respect their fire and rescue service, regrettably, there were seven attacks on staff between 1st and 6th of November.

This comes on the back of the thirty previous attacks reported by staff since the start of 2022.

Most of these attacks came as a result of firefighters responding to deliberately set fires involving rubbish, wheelie bins and other items often in children’s play parks.

Cllr Tye has said the abuse of firefighters and staff working in control rooms was absolutely unacceptable in any circumstance.

He added that firefighters come to work to support and work in local communities and the acts of a small number of people not only risks the lives of those requiring the services of the fire and rescue service, but also firefighters themselves.

Cllr Tye said: “Firefighters are someone’s mum, dad, sisters, brothers, friends, parents and are no different to any other member of society. They come to work to do an incredible and often dangerous job, when communities need them the most.

“The impact of the physical and psychological abuse experienced by staff can have a lasting impact on them – most families would condemn this kind of behaviour if it was happening to their family and friends.

“Everyone can play a part in calling out this kind of behaviour and reporting those involved if they know who they are.”

All Fire Authority members supported Cllr Tye’s comments and expressed outrage at the abuse of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service staff. They also praised staff for the work they do in local communities often in the face of very challenging conditions.

Anyone who knows the identity of those involved in attacks on emergency workers is encouraged to report it. You can contact Northumbria Police online, or by calling 101, or report information to independent charity FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558.