POLICE spent £120,000 “shadowing” firefighters on potentially dangerous call-outs in Bradford over the bonfire period to thwart attacks on crews.

The West Yorkshire scheme led to a 70 per cent drop in attacks on 999 personnel, following a rise in attacks in mid-September.

Across West Yorkshire there were 14 attacks on firefighters from November 2-5 and 10 attacks on “fire cars”.

Eleven fire cars were provided by police in high-risk areas. The cars were manned by a driver, a sergeant and a fire service manager. Bradford and Leeds each received four fire cars, with two in Kirklees and one in Halifax.

In Bradford the cars were based at Odsal, Fairweather Green, Bradford and Keighley.

The officers’ role was to carry out fast on-scene assessments of fires and to determine whether there was a risk to the public.

The scheme was to ensure that both the police and the fire service had minimal personnel in high-risk areas.

In addition, the fire cars allowed operational fire engines to stay available for calls for the majority of the period, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said.

Members of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority will meet on Friday to hear how the services coped with the pressured of Halloween and Bonfire night this year.

They will be to0ld that the fire cars were “a vital resource, allowing frontline appliances to stay available for other emergencies such as life risk, road traffic collisions, property fires and other priority mobilisations.”

Staffing the bonfire response cost WYFRS approximately £50,000 in overtime payments, with the police operation in Bradford alone costing West Yorkshire Police more than £120,000.

A report to the committee says: “Bonfire night saw large numbers of people fly tipping and then setting fire to items. West Yorkshire Police secured some good CCTV footage which will potentially allow the Local Authority to pursue a prosecution against those responsible. Specific intelligence was received regarding a potential firework/arson attack on a premises in Girlington, Bradford. WYFRS made numerous prevention and protection visits. A plan was put in place, with a community led response between 4pm and 11pm. Although police had officers nearby, community members from the Al-Hikam Centre and Al-Mustafa Centre chose to protect the site with help from WYFRS prevention staff.”

It says that in the run up to Bonfire night 80 presentations given by firefighters and police to 10,811 school children in Bradford.

WhatsApp groups were set up in the city where people could report incidents, and thousands of messages were sent over the evening.

During the period 33 people were arrested for Bonfire related incidents with 77 dispersal orders issued.

A BBC crew were with Odsal Fire Station on the evening of November 5, recording for a documentary that will air in Spring. Channel 4 News spent three nights on shift with crews at Fairweather Green and Odsal fire stations.