Like your correspondent Barry Foster (Your Say, November 12), I once thought that giving thugs who target fire personnel a good hosing down was the answer.
However, I then thought of the ramifications, quite apart from the fact that some firefighters would find it abhorrent.
Barry suggests having the hoses turned on “firm enough to lift them (the miscreants) firmly off their feet”.
Suppose it results in them being driven so hard against a brick wall that they die? The fire crew may well then be facing charges of manslaughter. So, not a good answer after all!
If the youths show little regard for, probably, anyone in uniform, as well as any consequences for their actions, they are hardly likely to listen to any argument which would prevent them from doing the same again.
It could well be that they have no respect for themselves but probably wish to be respected by their peers for all the wrong reasons. Thus they are a danger not only unto themselves but also to members of the fire service. Thus temptation must be taken away from these youths who wish to ‘have a bit of fun’.
The first bit of that is to cut off the supply chain and prevent them from lighting bonfires.
Part of the answer is to restrict the sale of fireworks to person of this ilk, so that it makes it almost impossible for them to get hold of these items which they use as weapons to attack others.
Let’s start with a minimum age of 25. They would need to provide his/her details to the licenced vendor.
If anyone above that age buys fireworks and enables the fireworks to be passed on to the under 25s, severe punishment through the courts should follow. Maybe starting with a minimum fine of £1,000 or six months in prison.
If this does not work, then there should be a complete ban on the sale of fireworks, with only properly organised displays being permitted.
I do realise this is going to hit the profits of vendors, but they have to think of the wider picture rather than their profits. For example, what if their shop or house burnt down because fire crews were dealing with an incident of the criminal type described or that an engine had to be taken out of service as it had been so badly damaged in such an incident and thus could not attend their burning property?
Secondly, any bonfire on public property and, in some cases, private land, should only be built with the owner’s written permission. Any illegal bonfire will be treated as fly-tipping, with the bonfire immediately dismantled and the appropriate punishment meted out.
Dismantling while the youths are in school should prevent the environmental health workers from being attacked in a similar manner to the fire crews.
The Party Pooper