From: Eric Waters, Ingleside Crescent, Lancing
Mark O’Brien, the Deputy Chief Officer of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS), said that any attacks on firefighters were unacceptable, and Matt Wrack, the General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) , backed him up by describing them as absolutely appalling. A government spokesperson was quoted as saying that being attacked should never be part of the job of a firefighter, and that there was a need for better protection and stronger sentences.
So, ESFRS, the FBU and the government are all in total agreement that verbally and physically abusing our fire men and women, harassing them, throwing objects at them and their appliances and displaying ‘other acts of aggression’ towards them are totally intolerable and inexcusable. So much so that twelve months ago saw the introduction of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018.
From all of that it certainly looks as though everyone concerned is fully aware of the situation and what needs to be done about it, but what the article did not contain were details of how many people had been apprehended, and placed before the courts, for carrying out any of these assaults. Were there any? If not, why not? Can anyone tell us? Someone must have that information. Good intentions and new laws are all very good but what use are they if they have no effect?
It is the duty of our firefighters to protect us, and it is ours to do what we can to protect them.
Politicians will be knocking on our front doors in the coming weeks, pleading for votes, so this is an ideal time to ask them what is going on – where are the arrests? - and to demand that, if elected, they will do everything they can to ensure that these attacks on fire service personnel are met with the full force of the law and, where appropriate, with custodial sentences.