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Arson: Durham

Question for Home Office

UIN 111749, tabled on 25 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of a potential inconsistency in the recording of arson statistics in relation to the ​Durham police constabulary and the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

Answered on

2 February 2022

The official statistics on crime and fire do not have a comparable definition of arson which is why the two sets of figures may appear inconsistent.

When a victim reports arson to the police, it will be recorded by them in line with the legal definition set out in the Criminal Damage Act of 1971 which is ‘an act of attempting to destroy or damage property, and/or in doing so, to endanger life’.

In contrast, the official statistics on fire publish information on the number of deliberate fires attended by the fire service where the motive for the fire was ‘thought to be’ or ‘suspected to be’ deliberate. This is a broader definition than the criminal offence of arson and will include fires that have not been reported to the police.

Answered by

Home Office