Bushfire Arsonists Tackled by New Pilot Program for Police & Fire Agencies

Victoria, Australia ( April 03, 2011

Bushfire Arsonists Tackled by New Pilot Program for Police & Fire Agencies

Bushfire Arsonists Tackled by New Pilot Program for Police & Fire Agencies

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced the Australian pilot of new specialist arson investigation training for police and fire agencies to help them catch bushfire arsonists.

Mr McClelland said the week long Wildfire Arson Investigation Management training – which starts today – is being piloted at the Australian Emergency Management Institute in Victoria with participants from almost every State & Territory Police and rural fire fighting organisations, as well as the New Zealand Fire Service.

“This training is an excellent initiative designed to help Australian fire and police agencies address the threat of bushfire arson to the Australian community,” Mr McClelland said.

“Up to half of all bushfires in Australia are suspected of being deliberately lit or start in suspicious circumstances and, as we have all seen, the consequences can be devastating.

“Based on best practise and adapted from North America, the training focuses on building the skills police and fire agency wildfire investigators need to gather arson related intelligence and lead investigations conducted by a multi-agency team.

“The primary objective is to help agencies catch more arsonists and contribute to successful prosecutions.

“The course is part of the ongoing commitment of the Australian, State and Territory Governments to work together to combat bushfire arson.

“With this year’s disaster season over, we can concentrate on continuing to improve the skills of our emergency management personnel.”

The development of the course – led by the ACT Emergency Services Agency – is a key priority in the National Work Plan to Reduce Bushfire Arson developed by the National Emergency Management Committee.

The pilot is fully funded by the Australian Government through the National Emergency Management Projects.

“I commend the efforts of national fire and police agency arson experts, as well as international fire experts from North America and New Zealand, in leading the review and delivery of the investigation course which will greatly benefit the many communities under threat from bushfire each summer.” Mr McClelland said.

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