Updated: Sunday, 17th November 2019 @ 5:12pm

Fire service says Greater Manchester ‘safer than ever before’ despite drop in fires slower than national rate

Fire service says Greater Manchester ‘safer than ever before’ despite drop in fires slower than national rate

By Jeremy Culley

Fire chiefs in Greater Manchester say residents across the region are safer than ever before, despite the fact that incidents are falling at a slower rate than national figures.

Deaths and injuries from fires, deliberate blazes, property fires, malicious calls and attacks on crews have all dropped in Greater Manchester.

And while the figures do reflect national trends and are dropping at a slower rate, fire bosses are quick to point out that they have been achieved during a period when the service has been forced to save £160m and cut staff by 300 people.

County Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Steve McGuirk said: “We have all been working hard to make Greater Manchester a safer place and this work is now paying off.

"We mustn't forget that this has all been done with fewer and fewer resources, as we have also delivered over £160m in efficiencies and reduced staff numbers both operationally and in support functions.

"GMFRS has almost 300 fewer staff members than it did seven years ago."

In that period, they have carried out more than 21,000 rescues, with deaths and injuries from infernos dropping by 40 percent during that period.

Deliberate fires have dropped by more than 2,000 since 2011 – a 36 percent drop – while GMFRS received 32 percent fewer malicious calls between July and September than the same period last year.

David Acton, Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire Authority, said: “At a time when there is a fair amount of bad news, it is nice to share some positive news.

“The government will shortly announce further cuts to fire and rescue service budgets.  We just hope that the reductions are not so large that we see a reversal of all the work we’ve done.”

Some of the rates of improvement in Greater Manchester are below national averages, however.

The number of fires in the region has dropped by 42 percent since 2005, while the number nationally has more than halved in the period.

Meanwhile, deliberate fires have plummeted by nearly 75 percent across the UK.

Nevertheless, the statistics further boost arguments that Manchester has become a safer place.

Last month, figures were released by the Office for National Statistics showing a ten percent drop in crime for the year ending June 2012.

However, despite this drop, Greater Manchester still has the third highest crime rate in the UK – with only London and West Yorkshire possessing worse records.

Picture courtesy of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service via Facebook, with thanks.

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