Peterborough firefighters attacked while on duty - investigation reveals

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Firefighters in Peterborough have been attacked while on duty, an investigation has revealed.

Five firefighters were verbally assaulted and one physically attacked in Peterborough in 2018/19, according to figures obtained by JPIMedia - the publishers of the Peterborough Telegraph - through a Freedom of Information request.

Firefighters on duty

Firefighters on duty

The physical attack took place in south Bretton but was described by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service as a ‘minor altercation’.

The verbal assaults took place in Central ward, East ward (2) and Paston (2).

In total, the county’s firefighters were attacked 11 times in 2018/19, down from 21 in 2017/18 but higher than the three years preceding that.

Overall, there were 54 attacks on firefighters in the past five years.

Figures obtained by JPIMedia

Figures obtained by JPIMedia

The investigation by JPIMedia has revealed that tougher sentences for assaulting firefighters has yet to cut the hundreds of attacks on the blue light workers across the UK each year.

There were more than 900 attacks last year on firefighters responding to emergencies across the UK, roughly the same number as the year before.

Firefighters say attacks often intensify around Bonfire Night.

Figures obtained from 49 of the UK’s 50 fire services show crews were physically abused more than 70 times and had fireworks or missiles thrown at them more than 200 times in 2018/19. At least nine firefighters were injured.

This is despite the introduction of a law in England and Wales last November which doubled the maximum prison terms for assaulting blue light workers from six months to a year.

Chris Bryant MP (Labour, Rhondda), who spearheaded the so-called Protect the Protectors law by tabling a Private Member’s Bill, said he feared the justice system was “still not taking this seriously enough and the courts have still not taken on board the fact that this law is in place”.

He said: “We need a complete zero-tolerance attitude towards any kind of violence towards our emergency workers. Any assault on them is an assault on all of us.”

A government spokesperson said: “Being attacked should never be part of the job for our firefighters, which is why we have been clear about the need for better protection and stronger sentences.”