03 July 2014

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has announced proposals to cut 100 full time firefighters – which represents just under a quarter of the workforce.

The early- stage proposals also include axing 14 retained staff, reducing pump crews from five to four and losing second appliances in some areas.

The proposals are part of a move to save £7.5 million over the next five years.

In response, the Fire Brigades Union has raised concerns that cutting services will impact on the safety of both fire crews and the public.

However, Dave Webb, Leicestershire's Chief Fire Officer, told the BBC that the proposals were the start of a process and there was "an awful lot more talking to do".

He commented: "I would not propose something which would put lives at risk, I am confident we can still protect the public and our staff.

"We are looking at all options, such as increasing revenue and we are looking at increasing our share of council tax."

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.