CUMBRIAN firefighters have been attacked or verbally abused dozens of times in just over a decade, figures show.

At least 8,600 attacks have been recorded by fire brigades across England since 2010-11 – and more than 500 firefighters have been injured as a result.

Home Office statistics show crews from the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service were at the centre of 44 of those incidents with four attacks recorded by the fire service in the year to March.

Cumbria fire and rescue deputy chief fire officer Brian Steadman said: “The safety of our firefighters is our number one priority and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service will not accept any type of violence towards our staff.

“It is appalling that a firefighter has been injured whilst undertaking work in their communities. Violence towards any emergency service workers should not be tolerated.

“We are here to serve and protect. We want to help people and be part of the community. We are proud to be part of Cumbria and our communities.”

In light of the figures, police chiefs vowed to use the full force of the law against those who subject emergency workers to "deplorable" attacks.

Since recording began just over a decade ago, two Cumbria firefighters have been physically injured in attacks.

During that time, crews were subject to six incidents of physical abuse, had objects thrown at them on eight occasions, had verbal abuse directed at them 24 times and dealt with at least six 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 five 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.”