Police and fire services targeted by vandals

12 September

VANDALS targeted police and fire service equipment more than 1,000 times in three years, it has been revealed.
Figures released to the Lib Dems showed there were 1,247 incidents against police forces and 29 against the fire services between 2007 and 2010.

Cases included someone setting fire to cloth while in a Lothian and Borders police car and another biting their own hand before spreading the blood around a cell.

In the past three years, vandals damaged 71 police vehicles in Fife. Grampian Police said that 29 cells were vandalised in one year.

Twenty-five fire engines were vandalised in Strathclyde, with 16 of the attacks happening when engines were responding to fires.

Strathclyde Police recorded the largest number of attacks, with 748 acts of vandalism in three years.

Lib Dem justice spokesman Robert Brown said: “We depend on our emergency services to do a very challenging job in often difficult circumstances.

“We already know they often face violent attacks in the course of their jobs. The latest figures say that 1,150 attacks on emergency workers on duty were carried out in Scotland last year.

“Now our figures show that police and fire officers’ equipment is being vandalised and their property destroyed.

“The incidents we have uncovered range from vandalising police cars to mindless and disgusting vandalism of police cells.

“Cleaning up the mess that vandals leave behind takes valuable resources away from our frontline emergency services, who we know are already struggling to manage tight budgets.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Attacks on police officers and firefighters are abhorrent, and attacks on their equipment and their premises are no less offensive to all decent-minded people. Our emergency workers should be able to spend their time helping people, not cleaning up after vandals.

“As well as showing a 32-year low in overall crime, statistics published last week showed that crimes of vandalism decreased by 15 per cent in 2009-10.

“However, we remain committed to taking the action needed to drive down crime further and for the long term.”

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