‘Enjoy it! Don’t Destroy It’ – Heathland Awareness Campaign
This campaign was launched to raise awareness of the devastating effects of arson in the county on areas such as heathland. Dorset is renowned for having outstanding scenery both on the coastline and further inland. One of the assets Dorset has is its heathlands with over 96% of these now protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
A high profile visual banner campaign raises awareness of the dangers and devastating effects of arson on Dorset heathlands and actively encourages people to contact Dorset Crimestoppers if they see anyone acting suspiciously on the heaths. Banners and posters are displayed on fire stations, schools, school transport buses, youth clubs, other youth associated premises, and within local communities situated close to heathland. Leaflets are also available to support the campaign.
The initiative is a result of partnership working with local communities, police, countryside agency, Urban Heath Partnership, local authorities and schools. New and innovative projects across the County aimed at tackling the growing menace of arson will attract a share of over £9 million of funding.
Bournemouth Local Authority has secured £57,000 for developing a car clearance scheme for 2004-2006. Dorset area has also secured a total of £45,000 to develop an Arson Task Force over the following two years. These monies are in addition to the two Arson Task Forces set up in Bournemouth and Poole already funded by the Arson Control Forum. As a result, the Service is now moving towards promoting successful arson control measures that have proved effective over the previous two years.
In conjunction with the North Dorset Community Safety Partnership the Service was pleased to successfully meet the Home Office's funding criteria and received £3,853. This money has been spent on training and equipping twelve uniformed staff to act as Firesetter Intervention Scheme Advisers.
The Dorset Fire and Rescue Service's 'Firesetter Intervention Scheme' is primarily aimed at young people and is intended to provide fire education in partnership with parents and other agencies to achieve a 'fire safe' person and environment.
The Arson Control Forum was created in April 2001 as a Government-led national body seeking to reduce arson-related deaths, injuries and damage. It brings together stakeholders such as the Fire and Rescue Service, local authorities, the police service, insurance companies and government departments.
Arson Control Forum Targets
Using 2001-2002 as a baselien year, the Forum is implementing a work programme to help meet the following Governemtn target on reducin arson: reduce by 10 per cent the number of deliberate fires by 31 March 2010, from 111,500 to 100,300 fires.
In the 12 months to December 2005, there were 66,000 deliberate primary fires in England, a 14 per cent reduction from the previous year. Deliberate vehicle fires fell by 14 per cent to 40,100, and the number of school fires started deliberately fell by 29 per cent to 482.
The Arson Problem
Further information on arson can be found via:
Crime Reduction website - www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/toolkits/an00.htm
Arson Prevention website: www.arsonpreventionbureau.org.uk
Download Dorset Fire and Rescue Service's leaflet about [Arson - The Threat to Farms and the Countryside] in pdf format.
If you have information why not call "Crimestoppers" on Freephone number: 0800 555 111. Callers with information on crime are not asked their name.
This anonymity is the key to the scheme's success, because it provides callers with complete safety from any reprisals.
For further information visit the Crimestoppers website.
The Urban Heaths Life Project aims to protect the internationally important heathlands found in and around the urban areas of South East Dorset. One of the major causes of damage is uncontrolled fire caused by their close proximity to almost half a million people. Heathland fires are not just a problem for the wildlife of the heaths.
Anyone who starts a fire on a heathland is putting themselves, and anyone else in the area in serious danger. An integrated system for reporting heath fires is being developed through co-operation between Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and other members of the Urban Heaths Life Project.
For more information about the Urban Heaths Life Project contact Heather Tidball on 01202 886201 or visit the website www.dorsetheaths.org.uk.
The following is a list of resources you can access to obtain additional information on a wide range of arson related topics:
Arson Control Forum
Association of Fire Investigation Dog Handlers
Communities and Local Government - Arson Reduction
Demolition Scrap Metal Prices