Arson (deliberate firesetting) is a criminal offence that can lead to injury or loss of life. It can damage property and have a negative effect on the environment. Arson also has proven links to domestic abuse, harassment, fraud, anti-social behaviour and vandalism. 


Reducing Arson At Home

Wheelie bin? Take it in!

Wheelie bins can be a fire hazard, not only from carelessly discarded items such as smoking materials, but they are also a very real target for arsonists. Fires involving wheelie bins can easily spread to your home, putting everyone inside at risk. Keep your bins safe, secure and if possible, away from doors and windows. When it’s not collection day, put your bin away.​



Rubbish is a ready source of fuel for an arsonist, so fires involving rubbish can quickly spread to nearby homes and buildings putting lives at risk.

  • Never store rubbish, or anything that can catch alight, in corridors, stair wells, near escape routes or near to your property
  • Keep communal bin stores secure and well lit
  • Don’t overload skips and get them removed when full

Security measures

One of the best ways to prevent arson is making sure your property is secure, including any derelict buildings. Do this by:

  • Keeping entry points to buildings secure, including sheds or garages, perimeter walls, fencing and gates
  • Boarding up and securing unused or derelict buildings
  • Preventing intruders and trespassing by making sure perimeters and buildings are well maintained and any damage is repaired as soon as possible
  • Considering installing security systems such as CCTV, alarms and security lighting
  • Keeping any flammable substances stored safely and securely, not left in the open


Reducing Arson at Work

The biggest cause of fires in shops and retail premises is someone deliberately starting a fire.

All premises can be targeted either deliberately or just because they offer easy access. Be aware of other small, deliberately set fires in the locality, which can indicate an increased risk to your premises. Be suspicious of any small ‘accidental’ fires on the premises and investigate them fully and record your findings.

Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because they generally develop much faster and may be intentionally started in escape routes.

You can protect your business from arson at low cost.

  • Fences around the premises should be at least two metres tall
  • Windows and doors should be fitted with strong locks
  • Keep items than can burn away from your building
  • Empty skips and bins regularly
  • Keep items that can burn away from your building
  • Cut back bushes and trees regularly so they don’t get too close to your building
  • Have a close down plan at the end of the day so someone secures the building and deals with any risks

What you have to do by law

​​​If you manage or operate a business, you will need to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

As the responsible person, you must:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises, review it regularly and ensure that it is held on the premises and is always available for inspection
  • Tell staff about any risks that you identify
  • Put in place and maintain appropriate fire safety measures
  • Plan for an emergency and record your plan
  • Provide staff with information, instruction and training

Additional guidance can be found here on the website.


Open spaces

Fires in wooded areas, grasslands, playgrounds and sports grounds cause widespread damage and can kill wildlife.

How to reduce the risk

  • Take rubbish home or use bins provided
  • Follow local rule / guidance on use of BBQs and open fires
  • Management responsibilities
  • Keep paths maintained to allow access to emergency service vehicles
  • Check and maintain water supplies
  • Check the condition and security of perimeter walls and fencing
  • Rubbish and recycling containers should be placed on solid ground and emptied regularly
  • Grass and tree cuttings should be removed as soon as possible