13 August 2019
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have warned that fire budgets could be cut in favour of policing, which would threaten firefighters' vital community engagement work and cause a 'serious threat to public safety'.
Up to £4 million in cuts could be made to Hereford and Worcester and Shropshire fire and rescue services if the takeover goes ahead.
The worst affected in the cuts would be emergency fire control rooms, where firefighters organise and supervise the emergency response in their counties.
Andrew Scattergood, FBU West Midlands regional secretary, said, “It’s dangerously misleading for the PCC to suggest he can cut £4M pounds from existing budgets without affecting emergency cover.
"Control room staff are firefighters and are trained to provide vital fire survival guidance calls – scrapping their posts or merging with policing services is simply not safe."
“Firefighters provide a humanitarian service, which often allows access to areas of the community that the police sometimes struggle to engage with. We cannot do that unless it’s clear that we are not the police," he said.
“We’re not going to cave in on this – we’ll keep fighting until this hostile takeover stops. This is a serious matter of public safety.”
The FBU is encouraging residents to raise their concerns in a submission to Shropshire fire and rescue authority’s consultation, which will decide its next steps to challenge the decision.
The takeover has been adamantly opposed by fire and rescue authorities, who fear emergency calls may not get answered as quickly, delaying the emergency response to fires and road traffic collisions in their communities.
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