Guest Blog: Alex Tipping, Fire Crime Practitioner

My name is Alex Tipping, I’m 26 years old and I work for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

I am a fire crime practitioner within the community safety department and my post is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent. I am also a retained crew manager in Abergavenny fire station.

My role is to help communities as well as educating people on deliberate fires and anti-social behaviour, and the impact these have on their communities. The reason I took on this position was because I wanted to be a part of an organisation that really makes a difference within the community which is something I certainly get from this job.

I work alongside a number of partner agencies to reduce and raise awareness around issues such as illegal fly-tipping that can fuel deliberate refuse fires and deliberate wildfires. I also conduct arson vulnerability assessments on disused and derelict buildings that have the potential to be set alight, posing additional risk to our firefighters, and support victims of domestic violence.

At domestic violence referrals I support the victim by target hardening their property to increase their safety and well-being it they have had a threat of arson, hate crime or anti-social behaviour made against them.

My working day varies enormously due to the current pandemic. I will usually have a catch up with the two other practitioners in Gwent via video call and see if they require my assistance with anything. Following this, due to the high demand of domestic violence referrals, I will then conduct any visits that need doing.

During the Covid 19 pandemic we have experienced an increase in deliberate refuse fires. The possible link here could be due to more people staying home and reduced services introduced at waste and recycling centres. We advise people to follow local authority and government guidelines for waste disposal and always use a registered waste carrier to dispose of their waste. We also ask that you inform our control room on 01268 909407 if you are going to have a controlled burn on private property, so it doesn’t result in an unwanted call out.

It’s important to recognise that even though we have had an increase in these incidents lately, the data for these incident types suggests that we are still attending significantly lower numbers than the same period last year, which is pleasing for me as I can see the positive impact my role is having on improving the wellbeing of the residents of Gwent.

I am extremely grateful and proud that I get to work for such a great organisation, and get to make a difference on a daily basis within the communities of Gwent.