With the bushfire season well and truly underway, Victoria Police is ramping up patrols to detect bushfire arson and prevent the destruction it can have on communities.
This summer, police will reactivate Operation Firesetter to detect and prevent bushfire arson in high-risk locations and times. The operation is a state-wide initiative activated on severe, extreme or code red days.
Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the operation was about taking action to catch arsonists before their criminal behaviour has devastating consequences.
“We’ve already seen serious fires in some areas of the state. It’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers,” DC Crisp said.
But it’s not just arsonists who provide a safety risk to the community.
Recklessly caused fires are often viewed by the community as accidental. In reality, the potential for injury, loss of life, property damage and drain on resources is the same as that caused by arson.
“Something like failing to properly extinguish a campfire, using machinery or angle grinders on a total fire ban day, or flicking a cigarette butt into grass is a recipe for disaster,” DC Crisp said.
“We want people to be mindful of their activities during fire danger periods. Know the restrictions and be accountable to them.”
Victoria Police is asking the community to help prevent deliberately and accidentally lit fires to keep Victoria safe this summer.
How can you help?
Be mindful of your activities during fire danger periods. Know the restrictions and be accountable to them.
If you believe a person, or vehicle, is behaving in a suspicious manner write down the details. If you record the details straight away the more accurate they are likely to be, and the more helpful the information will be to police.
If you are suspicious of a person or a vehicle, write down as much detailed information as possible.
If a fire affects your neighbourhood, try to:
o Note the description of any people who have entered or left the scene before the fire started.
o Note the description of any vehicles entering or leaving the scene before the fire started firewood collecting, bushwalkers etc.
o Note any activity in the area prior to the fire starting, such as camping,
o Remember the time and location where you first observed the fire.
If you see smoke or fire, call Triple Zero (‘000’) immediately. If you have difficulty speaking English, you can ask for an interpreter once you have been transferred to the emergency service you requested
If you see something suspicious, report the behaviour by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or by visiting www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.