Matt Wrack says PCCs have no understanding of the role and function of the fire and rescue service

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Firefighters, Public (PSI), FBU,

FBU logoThe FBU has slammed government plans to place police commissioners in charge of fire and rescue services.

The union says proposals to run public services like businesses will result in chaos for emergency services already buckling under the strain of cuts.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “These are badly thought out proposals from a government which couldn’t care less about emergency services or those they employ.

“There is absolutely no case for PCCs to take over the fire and rescue service.  PCCs have no genuine democratic mandate or understanding of the role and function of the fire and rescue service.  Police are law enforcers, while fire and rescue is a humanitarian service with a very different remit and culture.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack

“Firefighters need to be seen to be neutral within the communities they serve. Links with law enforcers will damage the much-needed trust and reputation firefighters have built up in neighbourhoods over decades, trust they depend on to gain access to peoples’ homes when needed for fire prevention and rescue work.   Fire and rescue services need independence to do their job professionally. We will challenge these proposals and appeal to local politicians to do the same.”

Matt Wrack also criticised proposals to abolish the democratically accountable fire authority (LFEPA) in London, saying: “This shows nothing less than contempt for democracy and the people of London.   This government is going to take every possible step to undermine democratic opposition to its policies, and these moves will further remove democratic control over the London mayor, despite the fact that less than one fifth of Londoners voted for him.  These damaging measures will reduce democratic accountability in relation to the fire and rescue service.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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