Deliberate fires in a Dundee hotspot area have dramatically reduced after successful intervention by emergency services.
Firefighters, police officers and community action teams have been carrying out ongoing prevention and intervention work in the Whitfield area, where deliberate fire setting is a problem.
And the results speak for themselves – there were just five deliberate secondary fires in the north east of the city, from the start of July until the current date.
Last year there were 62 deliberate secondary fires in that area over the summer quarter, which lasts from the start of July to the end September.
Graham Smart, group manager for Blackness and Kingsway fire stations, said: “There is still another month of the quarter to go but that figure is very good, it’s a significant reduction.
“It shows that the multi-agency prevention approach is working and having a positive impact.”
The current city-wide figure is sitting at 34 deliberate secondary fires, compared to 153 last year over the summer quarter.
Although the total figure will be higher, this is still a dramatic reduction, and the biggest reduction is seen in the north east area, which includes Whitfield.
Prevention work in this area included police and fire crews making a fictional film with young actors from Braeview Academy, where the pupils stole a wheelie bin and set fire to it in Middleton Woods.
The film was then shown to children at the school on the last week of term before the summer holidays, during part of a prevention event aimed at S2s.
Firefighters and police officers also spoke to the kids about the knock on effect these fires have on emergency services and of their own personal experiences.
Kevin Phillip, community fire officer based at Blackness Road fire station, said: “We didn’t expect to get such good results – we hoped we would but you never can be sure how these things go down.
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“The weather wasn’t so kind to us this summer compared to previous summers so that could have had a knock on effect on the figures, but generally we are pretty happy for now.
“Feedback from the film was fantastic, the kids were positive, it went down really well with them.
“There’s something very powerful about a message like that from someone you know, and in an area local to you.”