Arson has dramatically fallen in the county, with Northamptonshire seeing one of the biggest reductions in deliberate fires in the country, new figures have revealed.
Arson attacks on homes and businesses fell by 45 per cent in 2010-11 compared to the year before – from 543 incidents to 296 – the second highest fall in the country and a major drop from the 1,533 recorded in 2001-02.
The county also recorded the biggest national reductions in vehicle arson – 173, down 48 per cent – and deliberate fires involving derelict buildings and vehicles – 161, down 83 per cent.
Chief fire officer Martyn Emberson said: “I’m delighted with these results but I’m more delighted for the people of Northamptonshire because it is the people who have achieved this.
“It’s hard to put a price on how much arson costs society.
“A deliberate school fire could cost millions. The disruption that arson causes to businesses, the community and people’s lives is massive. Someone who is injured in a deliberate fire will have to have NHS treatment, the recovery process, and affect on their family – both the mental and financial cost is tremendous. You can’t put a price on people’s wellbeing.”
Among the deliberate fires started in the past 12 months was a fire at the Car Wash, in Alma Street, Wellingborough, believed to have been a copycat attack mirroring the August riots, and a fire in Post Office Close, Corby, that left four people injured last month.
Mr Emberson added: “Having less incidents means our firefighters can concentrate on doing more training so we can help the public even more. The area is a much safer place as a result of what everyone has been doing. We’ve also worked with the local authorities and the police to target antisocial behaviour.”