WORDPRESS GMFRS Fire Investigation team
Back Row L – R Watch Manager Clive Smith, Detective Constable Rob Rigby, Deputy Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle, Watch Manager Alan Hudson and Station Manager Mark Doggett Front Row L-R Watch Manager Tony Wilkinson, Cracker the Fire Investigation Dog and GMFRS Dog Handler Mike Dewar

GREATER Manchester’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has hailed Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) Fire Investigation Team after they secured 100 years of jail time for arsonists.

The plaudit comes just before Bonfire Night when GMFRS experiences its busiest time of year for deliberate fires.

The team of specialist investigators, which includes a detective constable from Greater Manchester Police, work 24 hours a day to find the cause of fires.

They are assisted by Cracker the fire investigation dog, who is trained to sniff out accelerants and other signs of arson.

In all the team have helped to secure the conviction of 80 arsonists since the partnership between GMFRS and GMP began five years ago.

Deputy Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle said: “By working together, police, fire, communities, and local councils across Greater Manchester have done much in recent years to help make bonfire night a safer, enjoyable time for everyone. The work of the fire investigation team is a prime example of this.

“To those who still want to try and spoil the party, the message remains clear – it’s not acceptable to put yourself and others at risk with dangerous bonfires or out-of-control fireworks.

“Of course people want to have fun and enjoy themselves – and quite right too. But not at the cost of their own safety or others. Please be safe. Don’t let a thoughtless moment of autumn fun escalate into anti-social behaviour or – much worse – a life-changing tragedy.”

Assistant County Fire Officer and Director of Prevention and Protection, Geoff Harris, said: “The period around Halloween and Bonfire Night always sees an increase in arson.

“We want people to know that if they start fires deliberately we have the expertise to help the police track them down.

“Our fire investigation team is second to none. Securing 100 years of jail time for arsonists is an amazing achievement.

“The success of our fire investigation team shows what can be achieved when emergency services work together.”