Public Sector: Campaign breakdown - Stop fire-setting

Agency: Consolidated PR
Client: The Scottish Government
Timescale: November 2008-November 2009
Budget: £20,000

The lowdown

Wilful lighting of fires, or 'fire-setting' continues to be the biggest problem facing Scottish fire and rescue services. Every day, almost 80 fires are deliberately started in Scotland, causing unnecessary injury and damage.

- Why is it happening now?

Research has found that many people turn a blind eye to fire-setting and do not report it to the police. Incidents traditionally peak in the lead-up to the school summer holidays. In advance of summer, Consolidated wanted to make the public aware they should not tolerate this form of antisocial behaviour and they can play a part in safeguarding their community by anonymously reporting incidents of fire-setting to Crimestoppers.

- Who is being targeted?

Local communities in fire-setting hot spots.

- How are they going about it?

Consolidated has taken a national problem to a local level, homing in on Scottish areas where fire-setting is prevalent, to reduce instances and support the agencies working to tackle the problem on the ground.

- What else is being done?

Consolidated is using figures to paint a picture of the scale of the problem, and media case studies have ranged from torched farm buildings to factories. Consolidated also organised visits to burnt-out church halls and schools to show the extent of the problem.

- What challenges does the campaign face?

Consolidated director Will Holt said the main challenge was motivating people to report any incidents. He said: 'We need to move people from the mindset that fire-setting is a nuisance, to one where they view it as a crime.'

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