Government response

Response to recent misleading press reports on fire statistics

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

DCLG responds to incorrect reports that arson attacks and fire deaths are increasing and fewer smoke alarms are in use.

A DCLG spokesman said:

“This is an incorrect and misleading picture. The latest figures show fire deaths across England were down 12% in 2011 to 2012 compared to the previous year and the number of people with a smoke alarm in their home is at a record high. Official figures also show deliberate fires have fallen in 2011 to 2012. The fire service remains a vital frontline service which the government is protecting.”


  1. There were 116,000 deliberate fires attended by fire and rescue authorities in England in 2011-12. This is 1% lower than in 2010 to 2011 and 60% lower than 10 years ago.

  2. There were 27,200 incidents of arson reported to the police in England in 2011 to 2012. This is 7% lower than in 2010 to 2011 and 55% lower than 10 years ago

  3. Accidental dwelling fires fatalities, which account for three fifths of all fire fatalities, were down by 26 from 213 in 2010 to 2011 to 187 in 2011 to 2012 (or 12%).

  4. Latest official figures show smoke alarm ownership is at a record high of 86% up from 8% in 1988.