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Fire Brigades Union slams Dorset and Wiltshire fire authorities' potential merger

By DavidBol  |  Posted: December 14, 2013

Fire authorities in Dorset and Wiltshire have proposed a potential merger of services.

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THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) has urged ‘extreme caution’ after authorities in Dorset and Wiltshire announced they were looking at a potential merger.

The FBU have slammed the government cuts, but believe merging the two services may not be the answer.

Karen Adams, FBU Brigade Secretary for Dorset said: “It’s time that politicians understood the real damage that their cuts are doing, and a merger with Wiltshire will not resolve the key issue for fire and rescue services, which is funding.

“Dorset’s fire control room is a vital resource for the safety of communities in Dorset, and the idea of one emergency fire control room covering both counties is untenable.

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“Fire control staff are highly skilled members of our team, and our priority will always be to protect frontline services and our members that deliver it.”

Both authorities announced yesterday they were working on developing a business case for a potential merger by 2016.

The authorities believe that they can achieve more together due to having similar priorities.

“Bigger is not necessarily better for the public or for firefighters” added FBU Executive Member for the South West, Tam McFarlane.

“This merger is a diversion from the main issues, which is central government cutbacks, which are rapidly leading to a crisis in fire and rescue services and driving brigades to the brink of insolvency.

“Devon and Somerset merged six years ago and are about to cut one in five frontline firefighters jobs – demonstrating that mergers do not provide a long-term, viable solution to protect frontline services.”

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