Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bonfire safety cars in West Yorkshire 'cost £120,000'

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Media captionFootage from inside a fire engine shows the moment fireworks were thrown at firefighters.

A police force spent £120,000 "shadowing" firefighters on potentially dangerous call-outs over the bonfire period to thwart attacks on crews.

The West Yorkshire scheme led to a 70% drop in attacks on 999 personnel, following a rise in attacks in mid-September.

Across West Yorkshire there were 14 attacks on firefighters from 2-5 November and 10 attacks on "fire cars".

Eleven fire cars were provided by police in high-risk areas.

The cars were manned by a driver, a sergeant and a fire service manager

Leeds and Bradford each received four fire cars, with two in Kirklees and one in Halifax.

The officers' role was to carry out fast on-scene assessments of fires and to determine whether there was a risk to the public, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The scheme was to ensure that both the police and the fire service had minimal personnel in high-risk areas.

In addition, the fire cars allowed operational fire engines to stay available for calls for the majority of the period, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (WYFRS) said.

The cars were "a vital resource, allowing frontline appliances to stay available for other emergencies such as life risk, road traffic collisions, property fires and other priority mobilisations", the fire service said.

The Kirklees fire cars attended 18 incidents such as secondary fires, bonfires and false alarms.

The fire cars were subjected to 10 attacks, but these were not recorded as a "firefighter attacks" as they were considered to be a police resource.

Staffing the bonfire response cost WYFRS approximately £50,000 in overtime payments, with the police operation costing West Yorkshire Police more than £120,000.

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