26 November 2015
The Fire Brigades Union has criticised plans unveiled in the chancellor’s autumn statement for Police and Crime Commissioners to take over the running of the fire service.
George Osborne announced that the plans, which have been mooted over the last few months, would be brought forward.
The FBU has raised concerns over whether the decision would put savings ahead of public safety and blur the lines between the two services in the eyes of the public.
A statement on the FBU website read: ‘It is widely understood, including among senior police officers, that the roles of the two services are very different, and that the ability of the fire and rescue service to engage with local communities in new ways, over the past decade, has largely been due to public awareness of this difference.’
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, added: “The power to arrest, which is a core feature of the work of police officers, is never going to mix with the independent, humanitarian service firefighters provide.
“This move will do nothing to expand the role of firefighters in any useful way, as some of the other areas of joint working does, such as various initiatives with the ambulance service. We fear the public’s trust will be severely dented by this move.”