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TVP Against Arson

by msecadm4921

Thames Valley Police, the fire service and local authorities are to work together to prevent unoccupied buildings falling victim to arsonists and vandals.

A new Unsecured Void Buildings Initiative has been devised by TVP and is a partnership with local fire authorities and local councils.

Under the new arrangements all three will be working together to identify buildings at risk from arsonists and compel owners or landlords to make the buildings safer and secure.

Once the buildings are identified as vulnerable, local authorities will contact the building owner and tell them to make the building safe and secure. If they fail to take action the local authority has the power to enter the building and make it secure and recover the costs from the owner.

The method of communication between councils and emergency services has been improved by the introduction of an on-line reporting procedure which allows police and fire personnel to quickly send a message directly to the lead person in the relevant council, reducing time delays and bureaucracy.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council is the first council area where the new arrangements come into effect. Other councils are expected to follow suit over the course of the year.

The Force is already talking to other local authorities. The initiative will be launched in Chiltern District Council area on Monday 16 July. 2007.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Gargan, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Arson is at the very least anti-social and often extremely dangerous.”

“We need to do all we can to reduce the opportunities for would-be arsonists to start fires. To do that we need to work with our colleagues in fire services and local authorities to ensure we are being as effective as possible.

“It is all very well the police investigating the fire and the fire service putting out the fire but our efforts are wasted if opportunities remain for people to commit these acts.

“Insecure buildings are tempting to arsonists and scar communities. Their presence makes people feel less safe. By working together we will make a real difference.”

The legislation that can be used includes the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and the Buildings Act.

Dave Hughes, Group Manager for Community Safety at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are committed to working in partnership with Thames Valley Police and local councils to reduce potential arson targets within our community, proactively identifying problems before they occur. We hope that this initiative will have a real impact in reducing arson and its consequences.”

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