INCIDENTS of arson have fallen by eight-fold in a decade in Harrow and Brent, the London Fire Brigade has said.
Figures just released show the number of deliberate fires recorded in Harrow diminished from 407 in the 2003/04 financial year to just 48 in 2013/14, equating to a decrease of 88 per cent.
In Brent there were 691 such calls 10 years ago and just 131 today - a 84 per cent reduction during that same period.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Over the last decade the brigade has worked extremely hard alongside its partners in the police and local councils to make it more difficult than ever for mindless vandals to endanger the lives of Londoners by setting fire to rubbish and vehicles left in our streets.
“We cannot be complacent though and I would urge anyone who sees an abandoned vehicle or dumped rubbish to report it to their local council, which will help get it removed so it cannot become a target for would be arsonists.”
The brigade said it can attribute the sharp decline in the volume of deliberate fires to the increasing scrap value of motor vehicles, making it less likely that they will be abandoned and therefore subject to arson, as well the European Union ‘End of Life Directive’ which came into force in 2005 to force car manufacturers to set up agencies to recycle cars for free when they came to the end of their life.
Further Brigade initiatives include the Juvenile Firesetters Intervention Team (JFIS), which works with young people who show fire-setting behaviour and London’s fire investigators work with the police to identify arson and bring arsonists to court.
In 2003/04, there were almost twice as many fires in London started deliberately than accidentally but now it is the other way round but a ratio of nearly 3:1.
Vehicle fires also reduced in Brent from 256 in 2003/04 to 61 in 2012/13 and in Harrow from 117 in 2003/04 to 26 in 2012/13.