New footage has been released of Halifax firefighters coming under attack from yobs throwing bricks, fireworks and smashing fire engines with signs.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is launching a campaign against attacks on firefighters after seeing a spike in violent incidents towards crews in the last year.
The campaign, called More than a Uniform, is delivering a zero tolerance message in the run up to the bonfire period – which is historically a peak time of year when attacks occur.
Last financial year, (2016/17) there were 95 attacks on our operational crews – up from 65 the year before, representing a 50 per cent increase.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “Attacks on our operational staff are now at their highest in five years. The rise in attacks on our crews is gravely concerning to us and as we approach the bonfire period, when we tend to see a flurry, we are delivering a clear message that it will not be tolerated.
“We believe our crews are sometimes targeted as they are seen as a ‘uniformed authority figure’ so our campaign aims to open people’s eyes to the fact that if you attack a firefighter, you may be attacking a mum or dad, a wife or husband, or brother or sister.
“Already this year we have seen a handful of attacks on crews using fireworks and it is only a matter of time before an operational firefighter is seriously injured.
“The lead up to the bonfire and Halloween period is not an excuse for recklessness and we would like to make it known that we have cameras on our fire engines and will work with our partners at West Yorkshire Police to prosecute anyone who acts aggressively towards our crews or support staff.
“Parents, if you have your suspicions that your children may be involved in such behaviour then please step in now before they end up in serious trouble with the Poli
In total 33 of the attacks happened in the month of November 2016 and 20 were on Bonfire Night itself.
And already this year there have been a handful of attacks.
Chair of the Fire Authority Councillor Judith Hughes said: “We cannot understand why anyone would want to attack our crews who deliver an invaluable public service day in and day out.
“This year we have seen nationally the bravery of Fire Service personnel who risk their lives to protect people from harm.
“Bonfire Night is the busiest time of the year for the Fire Service and crews do not need the extra pressure of looking over their shoulders in case a brick or firework is being hurled at them.
“We support the recent bill to Parliament to strengthen legislation in order to deliver tougher penalties for attacks on emergency service personnel and we hope this will act as a deterrent to reckless individuals.”