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'Merger will not damage fire service'

Published date: 24 June 2014 |
Published by: Sarah Staples 
Read more articles by Sarah Staples  Email reporter


 

THE possible merger of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s control with another centre will not affect the service people receive, the chief fire officer has said.
John Redmond said the possible merger with Hereford and Worcester controls or even West Mercia Police control is one of many options in a consultation to save money.
If it goes ahead, Shropshire’s control centre based in Shrewsbury would be moved out of the county.
He said: “The first thing to recognise is that this is part of our cost cutting programme to meet cuts set out by the Government’s austerity measures in order to balance the budget
.
“The move would bring at least as good a service if not a better service.
“It shouldn’t make any difference at this stage, there are improvements in communications and technology has moved on so there would be no issues with making a phone call to a different region.”
Shropshire Fire has already made internal changes; altering shift patterns made savings of £400,000 and converting uniform staff to non-uniform should bring about further cost reductions.
“There is a whole range of other things we are doing internally to save money,” continued Mr Redmond.
The brigade needs to make £900,000 in savings by 2020.
Meanwhile, Mr Redmond explained the brigade’s £9 million in reserves that were recently questioned by Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski is “one-off money” that is needed to ensure firefighters’ wages are paid, pensions are covered and responses to emergencies such as extensive flooding can be funded.
“If we had flooding in Shropshire it would cost us an awful lot of money to pay our staff, so if that happened we have the reserve.”.
“The move would bring at least as good a service if not a better service.
“It shouldn’t make any difference at this stage, there are improvements in communications and technology has moved on so there would be no issues with making a phone call to a different region.”
Shropshire Fire has already made internal changes; altering shift patterns made savings of £400,000 and converting uniform staff to non-uniform should bring about further cost reductions.
“There is a whole range of other things we are doing internally to save money,” continued Mr Redmond.
The brigade needs to make £900,000 in savings by 2020.
Meanwhile, Mr Redmond explained the brigade’s £9 million in reserves that were recently questioned by Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski is “one-off money” that is needed to ensure firefighters’ wages are paid, pensions are covered and responses to emergencies such as extensive flooding can be funded.
“If we had flooding in Shropshire it would cost us an awful lot of money to pay our staff, so if that happened we have the reserve.”

 

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