Transcript

Tackling Arson Online Chat

Transcript

Tackling Arson online chat: 3 June 2008

  1. To get things rolling is anything being done nationally to reconcile the police arson stats with those of the F&R service?
  2. This question is to the Merseyside contingent. Your figures for the last year or so have been really good in relation to reduction of primary and secondary fires. How was this achieved please?
  3. Hi Mike Fowler. How do you obtain authorisation for use of the cameras and do you use it to resolve short term local issues or in areas with chronic problems?
  4. Carl Turner, Humberside Fire and Rescue Arson Control manager says Hello! Question for Lol Craven, Do you have any confidentiality protocols in place, with regard to the use of Covert and Overt camera in conjunction with the Fire service and Police intelligence units?
  5. Deliberate secondary fires during the school summer holidays are a particular problem for several Fire Services, can you identify any particular strategies that have been proven successful in addressing this?
  6. Are the panel aware of any real time data exchange systems that exist between the FRS, police and partners? Throughout the Y&H region FRS data is sent to the police but it is usually ‘historic’ i.e. one month old. The police would like to see current data so they can act in hot spot areas quicker to prevent an increase in incidents – both deliberate fires and other criminal acts – the fire data is useful as a guide to other ASB/criminal issues but is out of date by their standards.
  7. There has been much debate about recycling and giving householders additional bins inclusive of saving plastic bottles. Does this give the opportunist arsonist a treasure trove of opportunity?
  8. This is a question to the experts. Regarding the sale of petrol to under-16’s, what works to prevent this please?
  9. A question for the panel again and slightly away from the arson issue but still part of the crime reduction agenda. As part of my role, I am looking at the way the Regional FRS’s interact with NPT’s. One question that was asked by the police was the use of appliance mounted CCTV (all WY and some of the other3 FRS have CCTV fitted) for prosecutions of crime and especially ASB (mainly curfew violations) I know this would be controversial and contentious but have you come across this issue before?

Moderator: Good afternoon, welcome to today’s webchat on tackling arson.
We have a number of panel members who will introduce themselves shortly.

lol Craven:   Hello, I have 24 years service, the last 2 years I have managed the Arson Task Force within Cleveland. I am happy to share any best practice that may be of benefit for practitioners involved within arson reduction.

Mike Kirby:   Hello. We are fire officers from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. I am Watch Manager Mike Kirby a member of the Threat Response Group; with me is Group Manager Myles Platt who is a District Manager with MF&RS and Watch Manager Peter Boland who manages the Arson Task Force within MF&RS.

Mike Fowler:   Hi everyone, I’m an operational Fire Officer with Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service serving in a number of roles over the past 22 years. I’ve been the manager of Cambridgeshire’s Arson Task Force since January 2005, responsible for the strategic management of arson reduction and fire investigation within Cambridgeshire.

 

1. Robin_ Morris_GOSW:   To get things rolling is anything being done nationally to reconcile the police arson stats with those of the F&R service?

Mike Fowler:   Robin – in response to your query, the Cambridgeshire ATF has been working very closely with the Cambridgeshire police analytical team to improve the actual recording of deliberate fires. We have in place a simple electronic fire investigation form that operational Fire Service mangers complete and submit. This form goes directly to the police crime assessment team and the ATF, the information is audited by the ATF police officer on a daily basis to ensure continuity of information and pick-up on any specific crime issues.

 

2. James Bonworth:   This question is to the Merseyside contingent. Your figures for the past year or so have been really good in relation to reduction of primary and secondary fires. How was this achieved please?

Mike Kirby:   Hi James. MF&RS use the intelligence we receive from our partners e.g. Merseyside Police, collect the info each month and then target harden i.e. concentrate our efforts in a small area with a multi-agency approach.

vincent macklam:   West Yorks FRS have set up a protocol with Wakefield met Council so that the LA’s CCTV cameras can be used to monitor certain known deliberate fires areas. Fire Crews can contact the CCTV control centre direct to request this service. Crew also have maps with CCTV coverage on their appliances to aid them. They have already caught an individual who was suspected of causing several secondary fires with this system.

James Bonworth:   Supplementary question to Mike Kirby. Thanks for your response, how does target hardening happen (i.e. what does it look like) and which partners do you work with to do this?

Mike Kirby:   James – we use Police intelligence, fire performance indicators (bvpi 206 set), local intelligence from fire crews and partners and Intel from the public presented by community leaders. This info is presented monthly by the LA Community Safety Team. The data is presented on a GIS based map where a hotspot is identified and the group decide on an action plan for that following month. We also respond to sharp local peaks at very short notice. Having identified a hotspot area, we send out Arson Reduction Advocates, ASB Advocates and our Community Assistance Unit with a Police team. Based on intelligence gathered, if needed we call on other partners e.g. LA for refuse removal.

martin hall:   Martin Hall Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, Youth Intervention Manager says hello

 

3. Mike Kirby:   Hi Mike Fowler. How do you obtain authorisation for use of the cameras and do you use it to resolve short term local issues or in areas with chronic problems?

Mike Fowler:   Mike Kirby – in response to your query, Cambridgeshire has established authorisation responsibility within the Service. Authorisation of information sits with a specific management post, authorisation of camera use / installation sits with the Area Manager – Community Risk Reduction Group. We have established clear parameters in use ensuring that we do not conflict with RIPAR. It would be useful for you to meet / talk directly with my police colleague – Neil Windsor, who has overall management of the equipment and evidence obtained.

 

4. Carl Turner:   Carl Turner, Humberside Fire and Rescue Arson Control manager says Hello! Question for Lol Craven, Do you have any confidentiality protocols in place, with regard to the use of Covert and Overt camera in conjunction with the Fire service and Police intelligence units?

lol Craven:   Hello Carl, I recently hosted a multi agency Arson Forum at Cleveland Police HQ. One of the presentations given was on the subject of Covert cameras. The presentation showed examples of covert camera operations and the convictio
ns obtained, using the latest technology, but one of the main areas of interest especially from the police was the speed in which the RIPA was agreed and signed off .I will forward your contact details to the speaker.

 

5. Jon Pringle:   Deliberate secondary fires during the school summer holidays are a particular problem for several Fire Services, can you identify any particular strategies that have been proven successful in addressing this?

Mike Fowler:   Jon – in response to your query…..Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service worked in partnership with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and local CDRP’s in the establishment of covert surveillance equipment, which is completely managed by the ATF supplemented by Fire Service managers in the ops management / installation of the equipment. Cambridgeshire experienced a dramatic reduction in specific secondary fires during 2007/08. Other Fire Service’s have shown interest in this initiative and are progressing a similar project initiation.

Robin_ Morris_GOSW:   Response to Jon Pringles original question – Dorset F&R worked with the police and CDRPs in Dorset to put on Project Blitz – the only link I can find is http://lcjb.cjsonline.gov.uk/Dorset/395.html .
Run throughout Dorset schools this showed great results and included a workshop on fire setting. I’m sure Nikki Billington can be contacted via Dorset Police for further info’.

 

6. vincent macklam:  Are the panel aware of any real time data exchange systems that exist between the FRS, police and partners? Throughout the Y&H region FRS data is sent to the police but it is usually ‘historic’ i.e. one month old. The police would like to see current data so they can act in hot spot areas quicker to prevent an increase in incidents – both deliberate fires and other criminal acts – the fire data is useful as a guide to other ASB/criminal issues but is out of date by their standards.

Carl Turner:   Hi Vincent Macklam, how did you by pass the legal problems with regard to the Data protection act, when I approached NELC CCTV Team for the same type of operation you carry out, they informed me that due to legal protocols they are not allowed to monitor one area alone, e.g. they cannot keep the camera static on one person, building, skip etc if requested by the fire service.

Carl Turner:   Vincent, in response to your question with regard to real time data, we have a contact system with all agencies where by every incident I can monitor on my Boss System in live time, if requested I can implement immediate actions for that incident by contacting the Police area managers, Sergeants, and PCSO,s and environmental services on the ground to inform them of an incident in their area, also any vehicle incident, I can request the immediate removal of that vehicle via the NELC retrieval team with immediate effect, so much so that a low loader has been on the incident ground ready to remove the vehicle before the fire crews have left the incident, with the direct communication of other agencies, I can send any relevant data almost immediately into their systems.

vincent macklam:   Carl, I haven’t got all the details re the Wakefield CCTV protocols but I’ll contact you direct to discuss.

nige powell:   I am a local Police officer in the Humberside Force area (Cleethorpes to be exact) and currently have identified through the excellent relations with the local arson task force an individual who causes us great concern with regards to his ‘late night’ fascination with starting fires on my area. Due to the nature of his M.O. he is proving difficult to apprehend with the limited resources at our disposal. He has been identified as a risk and main suspect for this activity. If he was a juvenile he would have been referred to a local project named ‘The Sparks Program’ which has proved successful in the past in highlighting the dangers and deterring from this behaviour, however, this individual is a young adult and there appears to be no provisions for anyone over 18. Does anybody know of any future plans to introduce similar programs for adults as a possible way of dealing with this male’s behaviour?

Mike Fowler:   Nige Powell – in response to your query I would recommend that you make contact with my ATF police colleague – Neil Windsor. Neil will be able to provide you with the current process being applied by Cambridgeshire Constabulary. From a Fire Service perspective, we have a juvenile fire setters program which is managed by our Youth Engagement Officer – James Thorn…..again I can put you in direct contact with James

Carl Turner:   Hi Nige. I have only just heard this morning about an agency called Cooper and Cooper in Grimsby who take on difficult individuals , post 18yrs old, you have my contact details if you need to discuss our friend in Cleethorpes,

 

7. liverlad:   There has been much debate about recycling and giving householders additional bins inclusive of saving plastic bottles. Does this give the opportunist arsonist a treasure trove of opportunity?

Mike Fowler:   Liverlad – in response to your query, Cambridgeshire has specific wheelie bin issues in Peterborough and Huntingdon. The ATF is about to undertake a specific initiative to reduce the number of deliberate fires involving predominantly ‘general rubbish’ wheelie bin fires. Humberside has undertaken a recent initiative to reduce the problem; I can put you in touch with the appropriate contact in Humberside.

Mike Kirby:   Hi Liverlad – we in Merseyside have actually commissioned research into the problems of mitigating the effects of arson involving plastic wheelie bins. This has highlighted the need for all partners to work closely together. The Arson Task Force raises public awareness of the risks involving wheelie bins and fire and also the provision of security measures fixed to the bins e.g. security locks (both retrofit and designed in).

vincent macklam:   Liverlad – you may want to contact Bolton Council. Their refuse enforcement team have carried out several successful prosecutions of residents regarding wheelie bins – for leaving then out on the street and related offences.

Dennis Jepson:   Mike Fowler Any chance of the same info for Wheelie Bins. I have a problem in Rotherham South Yorks.

Mike Fowler:   Dennis – in response to your query, I can put you in touch with the appropriate contact in Humberside. A similar project has also been undertaken in Wrexham and again I can put you in touch with the respective contact.

 

8. James Bonworth:   This is a question to the experts. Regarding the sale of petrol to under-16’s, what works to prevent this please?

Mike Fowler:   James – in response to your query, you might find it beneficial to speak with your local Trading Standard officers on how the sale of petrol is managed by the Forecourts.

Mike Kirby:   James – regarding petrol, our inspecting officers will visit all forecourts and ensure that the provisions of licence are being adhered to including signage regarding under age sales.

 

9. vincent macklam:   A question
for the panel again and slightly away from the arson issue but still part of the crime reduction agenda. As part of my role, I am looking at the way the Regional FRS’s interact with NPT’s. One question that was asked by the police was the use of appliance mounted CCTV (all WY and some of the other3 FRS have CCTV fitted) for prosecutions of crime and especially ASB (mainly curfew violations) I know this would be controversial and contentious but have you come across this issue before?

Mick Kirby: in MF&RS most of our fire appliances are fitted with CCTV cameras. They can be used for a multitude of tasks including investigation of RTC’s involving service vehicles, investigating incidents of violence against fire crews, also instances of anti-social behaviour directed not just against service personnel but also against members of the community. We also provide footage when requested by Merseyside Police to assist them in the investigation of crime.

 

Moderator:  We have come to the end of the session today and can I say thanks to all that have participated. A transcript of the session will be published on the crime reduction website shortly.

Last update: Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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