Emergency service merger plans come under fire
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02 June 2015
The Fire Brigades Union has voiced its opposition to a Home Office bill being put forward to merge emergency services.
The reforms would mean initially bringing fire brigades under the control of Police and Crime Commissioners.
The proposals could eventually lead to police officers and firefighters being trained as paramedics and expected to handle medical emergencies at the scene instead of waiting for ambulances.
In response, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Emergency services are completely unique in the way they work, the incidents they have to deal with and the management structure that is required to run an effective service.
“No matter what politicians say mergers are driven by cuts and it could have serious consequences for the ability of all emergency services to respond effectively to emergencies. The public want professionally trained firefighters when they call us.
“It is simply not true that Police and Crime Commissioners have played any noticeable role in improving the fire and rescue service. They would not have the knowledge, expertise or democratic legitimacy to play such a role.
“Given the atrociously low turnout in the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners they do not have a mandate to make such huge structural changes in the fire and rescue service.”