At least 8,600 attacks have been recorded by fire brigades across England since 2010-11 – and more than 500 firefighters have been injured as a result.
Home Office statistics show crews from the Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service were at the centre of 237 of those incidents, with 26 attacks recorded by the service in the year to March.
In light of the figures, police chiefs vowed to use the full force of the law against those who subject emergency workers to ‘deplorable’ attacks.
Since recording began just more than a decade ago, 20 Nottinghamshire firefighters have been physically injured in attacks, with two of those requiring a hospital stay due to serious injuries.
During that time, crews were subject to 16 incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on 28 occasions, had verbal abuse directed at them 143 times, experienced eight episodes of harassment and dealt with at least 42 other aggressive incidents.
Mick Sharman, area manager for response with the Nottinghamshire, said: “Attacks on firefighters and indeed any emergency workers are deplorable.
“Firefighters work tirelessly to undertake their role and duties with the ultimate aim of helping Nottinghamshire's communities.
“Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service takes a zero tolerance approach to attacks on firefighters.
“Our staff are invaluable to us and we have measures in place to support their mental and psychical health after any incident.”
Despite firefighters attending fewer incidents during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, attacks increased nationally, with 934 recorded across England in 2020-21 compared with 899 in 2019-20.
And the true figures could be higher, as those reported only reflect assaults experienced during operational incidents and do not take into consideration abuse at or around fire stations, or as crews are carrying out fire prevention work, for example.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Any attack on firefighters – who are providing a humanitarian service – is something to be deplored.”
Verbal abuse is the most common type of attack recorded nationally, accounting for 57 per cent of incidents recorded by services since 2010-11.
About a quarter of incidents involved objects being thrown at firefighters, while 5 per cent were physical attacks.