“As APCC, I have studied with interest the Home Office’s latest publication of Fire and Rescue data, including year-end figures for 2017/18.
The data indicates a long-term downward trend in the number of fires and incidents over a ten-year period, which is encouraging and can, to some degree, be explained by the preventative and educational work the sector has delivered. Indeed, data relating to all incidents attended provides further insight into the work of firefighters; this data includes 172,052 non-fire incidents (amongst them, flooding and medical incidents); as well as total number of fire false alarms (225,625), which accounted for 40% of all incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in 2017/18.
Comparing this 2017/18 data with the previous year – with its increases in the total number of incidents, fires and fire false alarms – it is unclear if this is the beginning of a longer-term trend, or a short-term increase.
2017/18 saw an unfortunate rise in the number of fire-related fatalities, with 334 deaths, including 71 from the Grenfell Tower fire, compared with 263 in the previous year. The public inquiry into the tragic Grenfell Tower incident, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, continues, and the Prime Minister has undertaken to publish the report in full and share it with Parliament once it has been prepared. The report will, likely, provide learning and recommendations for the public sector including Fire and Rescue Services.
This comes at a time of significant change for the Fire and Rescue sector, not only with the new Fire Governance options available to Police and Crime Commissioners via the Policing and Crime Act, but, most notably, the introduction of the new inspection regime, which is now in operation. As with today’s Home Office data release, which also provides statistics on workforce numbers and diversity, inspection reports will provide greater transparency for the public, with graded judgements, reports and recommendations published online.
I encourage my PCC colleagues to take note of today’s data release as part of the statutory Community Safety Partnership duties.”
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