FIREFIGHTERS in Herefordshire and Worcestershire were attacked more than 100 times in just over a decade.

New figures from the Home Office show crews from the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service were at the centre of 158 incidents.

This is out of more than 8,600 attacks recorded by fire brigades across England since the 2010/11 period.

More than 500 firefighters have been injured, with 15 incidents in Hereford and Worcester coming in the year up to March 2021.

Since recording began just over a decade ago, three Hereford and Worcester firefighters have been physically injured in attacks.

“Sadly attacks on emergency service workers are on the rise,” said Area Commander Rob Allen of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

“We deplore any form of physical or verbal abuse targeted towards our staff or colleagues in the emergency services.

“Not only does it make their job of protecting the public harder, it also adds needless risk to their challenging roles.

“We will work with the police to bring perpetrators to justice.”

During that time, crews were subject to six incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on five occasions, had verbal abuse directed at them 128 times, experienced 12 episodes of harassment and dealt with at least seven other aggressive incidents.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: "Any attack on firefighters – who are providing a humanitarian service – is something to be deplored.

"It is paramount that fire and rescue services provide appropriate support to firefighters who are subject to such attacks, including taking into account any mental health effects of these incidents, and being understanding when it comes to sick leave."

Verbal abuse is the most common type of attack recorded nationally, accounting for 57 per cent of incidents recorded by fire services since 2010-11.

Around a quarter of incidents involved objects being thrown at firefighters, while 5 per cent were physical attacks.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said it is never acceptable for anyone to be assaulted or harmed for doing their job.

He added: "Last year, the maximum jail term for attacking emergency workers was doubled

"This sent a clear message that society will not tolerate abuse of our emergency workers.

"We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line."