Norfolk and Suffolk firefighters assaulted 37 times since 2010, new figures show
PUBLISHED: 10:38 24 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 24 April 2015
Firefighters in Norfolk and Suffolk have been verbally abused, had objects thrown at them, been harassed and physically assaulted nearly 40 times in the last five years, figures have revealed.
Data from Norfolk and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Services show there have been 37 incidents classified as “assault” on firefighters since 2010.
The split of incidents is heavily weighted in Suffolk’s favour, with 32 taking place, and just five in Norfolk.
The Suffolk incidents include one where a crew from Brandon was “physically abused” and two firefighters suffered “slight injuries”. The assault actually took place when the crew was assisting in Norfolk, on June 16, 2013, at around 10pm.
The figures, which were gained through a Freedom of Information request by the EDP, also show three incidents of verbal abuse and one of harassment in Lowestoft since 2010.
There were also instances of verbal abuse in Bury St Edmunds on four occasions.
Despite the assaults, Peter Greeves, chairman of the Norfolk branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said the county was a safe place to work.
“In Norfolk we are very privileged because of the people that live here.
“The most we have is verbal abuse, which compared to some big metropolitan brigades is very minimal.
“You occasionally get a neighbour’s dispute which spills over, but an assault is extremely rare,” he said.
Andy Vingoe, chairman of Suffolk FBU, echoed Mr Greeve’s comments.
“There are areas we used to be much more wary of, and only go there with the police or two engines, but at the moment it’s fine,” he said.
In some areas of the county it has been known for crews to be lured into an area with a fire, only to be trapped in and pelted with bottles and bricks, Mr Vingoe added.
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