Attacks on firefighters who are working hard to protect communities during Bonfire season will not be tolerated – says a top fire chief.
Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Lewis Ramsay hit out after crews were last year targeted by missiles and fireworks in the course of their duties.
The attacks came on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s busiest night of the year.
Firefighters across the country responded to 970 incidents on November 5, 2016 – including 326 unofficial bonfires – while Operations Control dealt with hundreds of calls.
ACO Ramsay said: “Our firefighters’ main purpose is to save lives. You can rest assured that they will always be there and standing on the front line to help at times of emergency.
“And these firefighters are your father, mother, brother or sister – someone’s family. It is beggars belief when I hear that they have either been physically assaulted or verbally abused when trying to assist their communities.
“But be left in absolutely no doubt that it is often down to a very small minority of individuals within those communities.
“I would like to take this opportunity to stress once again that this will not be tolerated because our firefighters absolutely do not deserve to be met with such behaviour.”
ACO Ramsay warned that such criminal action would be taken extremely seriously and vowed to work with police partners to ensure those responsible are identified and held to account.
Recent stats show a firefighter is attacked in Scotland every three days – in the last six years there have been 590 incidents where staff have been physically or verbally abused or had objects thrown at appliances.
ACO Ramsay added: “Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable and I am sure the public would be outraged by incidents where their firefighters have been targeted while working to protect people and property.
“This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion but it can impact on our emergency service colleagues including the police when they have to escort us at the scene.
“This cannot be condoned.”
To report such incidents contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively through the anonymous Crimestoppers helpline on 0800 555 111.