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Arson in the workplace, what happens when your employee ‘fires’ you?

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Dinas Powys based criminal behaviour specialists the Cognitive Centre are highlighting the dangers of unknowingly employing a formerly convicted arsonist.

Latest figures show that a third of all fire incidents attended by the fire and rescue services in England and Wales were caused deliberately. Out of these there were 303 fatalities, 7,661 casualties and potentially millions of pounds in property damage.

At a conference in London on 25 September they will focus on identifying and mitigating the circumstances that lead to fires being deliberately set in the workplace. Businesses may inadvertently employ an arsonist or someone for whom setting fires is their way of relieving tension or for getting instant gratification?

Wendy Cooper from the Cognitive Centre said:

It is incumbent on both HR professionals and Helath and Safety officers to consider the potential risk of deliberate firesetting and mitigate the circumstances. A business may have unwittingly employed a former arsonist, perhaps someone convicted of setting grass fires or even burning down a school in their youth. We will help business professionals discover identify the risks associated with arson and explore potential actions they can take to mitigate the danger for their organisation.

Research suggests that many offenders who set fires are not caught and for many setting fires is part of an overall anti-social pattern of behaviour. Some individuals have serious mental health issues and set fires for different reasons. In our prisons in particular almost 50 fires are recorded each week.

Its difficult to anticipate when an arsonist will strike and often a firesetter will not reveal themselves unless caught in the act. For smaller companies a fire may have a devastating effect resulting in it going out of business.

Robin Morris-Jones of the Cognitive Centre said:

A detailed analysis of current and future developments in the field of appropriate responses to firesetting and arson will be explored at our conference in London featuring leading experts from the US and UK. A former child firesetter will talk about at why she set fires and what helped her to stop

The Firesetting conference details are here