We are using specialist drone patrols in our efforts to prevent arsons in the Lincoln area.
Officers from our Drone Unit have deployed the kit to gather aerial views of sites where arsons have taken place to help aid investigations, as well as during live incidents which fire crews and police are responding to.
The images provide a good overview of the areas being affected so the scale of the damage can be determined. The drones are being used as preventative patrols in areas that we know have been targeted previously, and they can be used to track the whereabouts of individuals if deployed to an incident.
This complements work by other teams such as our Neighbourhood Policing Teams which engage with schools, parents and children, investigative officers, response officers and forensics experts. Where we identify groups of young people who have been in the area of different incidents, we will speak directly with them and their parents to offer education and advice on the dangers of fire. So far, the individuals responsible for setting the fires have yet to be identified but our investigations are continuing.
There has been an increase in deliberate fires across Lincolnshire, including in Lincoln where incidents have included fires set in grassy areas such as Greetwell Quarry, Boultham Park and the Doddington Park area. On some occasions, youths have been seen in the area with lighters.
The drones were most recently used yesterday (14 August) following reports of a group of youths who were engaged with by local officers.
Inspector Ian Richardson said: “We are keeping an open mind about the cause or people responsible for any ignition, but it is believed that the majority of the fires are being started deliberately by young people.
“Reckless fire setting, particularly in dry hot weather, has the potential to spread from where it was started, and poses a serious risk to people and property. Parents and carers have a responsibility to know where their children are when they go out, and to educate them about the risks and consequences of causing harm and damage in our communities.”
Helen Tooley, Divisional Commander for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, added: “We are currently seeing more deliberate fires occurring in small pockets across the county. These incidents put a strain on fire and rescue resources, can easily escalate and cause serious damage, and mean we could be delayed getting to other incidents. We work with partners to take action against those who set fires deliberately, and this includes criminal convictions.”
If you see something that you think looks suspicious, please call 101 and report it. Always call 999 if you see a crime taking place.
If you have a child or young person who you worry is setting fires, you can refer them to the Firesetters Intervention Scheme. Visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lfr for more information.