FBU photo competition 2017 fire appliance night shot

Over 1,000 attacks on firefighters, as crews face bonfire night bombardment

There were 1,170 attacks on UK firefighters in the last year, according to new research from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). This bonfire night saw “appalling” attacks on firefighters across the UK, as overstretched and under-resourced crews faced one of their busiest nights of the year.

In England there were 961 attacks on firefighters in 2018/19, up by 3% on the year before. Both Scotland and Wales saw attacks on firefighters rise by over a third, with 72 and 44 attacks respectively. There were 93 attacks in Northern Ireland in the same year, a five year low.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“The attacks we’ve seen on our hardworking firefighters are absolutely appalling. Firefighters put their own lives on the line to save others – they are a vital part of the community and will save anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are, which could even include their attackers.

“This bonfire night has seen attacks on overstretched and under-resourced crews across the country. The Tories have cut 11,500 firefighters since 2010; the last thing these crews need is to be attacked on one of their busiest nights of the year.”


There were six bonfire night attacks on Scottish firefighters, according to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. They responded to 665 incidents, including 359 bonfires, with control room operators handling 882 calls.

In Manchester, firefighters were attacked by a 40-person group throwing fireworks, while in Leeds a police helicopter was called in and several arrests made, after West Yorkshire fire and rescue service firefighters were attacked.

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