SINCE the launch of the very first Welsh Arson Reduction Strategy (WARS) in 2007, there has been a considerable reduction of deliberate fires across Wales, with an estimated decrease of 68% from 2006 to 2014.
This has been achieved with the determination and hard work from all the agencies that have been involved.
However, deliberate fires in Wales still provide a clear and present danger to our environment, economy and our communities.
Building on the knowledge and experience gained over the last decade, the time was right to further develop the strategy and to release the fourth generation of the Welsh Arson Reduction Strategy (WARS).
The key focus area of this new Strategy recognises the value in working with the communities and individuals; we are encouraging them to share the responsibility to enable us to collectively eradicate arson where we live, work and visit.
To deliver the Strategy, the Strategic Arson Reduction Board (SARB) has been established.
The group is chaired by Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Roger Thomas of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and includes partners from both North Wales and South Wales Fire and Rescue, Welsh Government, the four Welsh Police Forces, NHS Wales, Crime Stoppers, Met Office, National Probation Service, WLGA, NRW, YFC Wales and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
DCFO Thomas said, “I recognise the importance of working closely with our partners and our past successes are a direct result of the hard work, innovation and drive of our Joint Arson Group.
I believe now is the right time for a new strategy that will help to re-focus the efforts in this area and broaden the responsibly of our partners and communities to reduce deliberate fires across Wales”
The WARS sets out the Vision and Mission statement of SARB and contains five Strategic Objectives that focus on a call for a cultural shift across Wales to show that arson is socially unacceptable within the community.
Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Chair for the Joint Arson Group said: “We have witnessed the devastation that deliberate fires have on a community and working with our partnerships will ensure that we deliver appropriately targeted and effective interventions to prevent deliberate fire setting.”