THE `watering-down' of a Government Bill designed to protect firefighters from yobs has been slammed by a Kirklees councillor.
Clr Robert Light, vice-chairman of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, has attacked Government interference in a Bill which would have made it a jailing offence to assault fire crews.
There are about 150 incidents in West Yorkshire every year, ranging from stoning of crews, to verbal abuse. Clr Light said: "It's an absolute outrage that firefighters - who put their lives on the line to protect our homes and families - should be subjected to assaults and ambushes from a tiny minority of thuggish youths with no respect or pride in their communities."
He said the Government would only back the Private Member's Bill, tabled by Alan Williams MP, if it was `watered down'.
The Bill now only includes the new offence of `impeding emergency workers responding to an emergency' with a fine of up to £1,000.
Ministers said assaults on fire crews were covered by existing laws.
Each week there are about 40 attacks on firefighters nationally.
Clr Light added: "If the current legislation is tough enough why are the thugs getting away with their crimes?"