Reduction in Staffordshire firefighter posts approved

Staffordshire's Fire and Rescue Authority has approved recommendations to reduce the number of firefighter posts.

It is part of plans to save money, with the service losing £4 million from its budget by 2020.

Bosses say that there will not be any reduction in the number of full-time fire appliances available in the county, with 10 remaining on the run during the day and 8 overnight.

They say that they can safely reduce the number of firefighters by 40 over the next two years, because of a reduction in call outs.

The posts that will be lost are where people are set to retire, so there will be no need for redundancies as a result of the changes.

Under the plans Hanley will have eight fewer posts by January 2017, going from 32 currently to 24 in the new-year. There are no plans to further reduce the number of whole-time firefighters at the station.

Newcastle will be reduced from 44 posts currently to 28 in 2017 and then to 24 in 2018.

Stafford and Cannock will both see a decrease in posts from 28 at present to 24 in 2018.

Tamworth will see a reduction from 28 currently to 24 in 2017. 

Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority Stephen Sweeney said: “The Service has long recognised that prevention is far better than cure and it is focused on achieving this aim in everything that it does. It is also committed to its pledge never to cross the two red lines of community safety and firefighter safety which is paramount in its day-to-day activities.

“It is in no small way due to this ethos that the number of emergency incidents across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has reached an all-time low in the past decade. Carrying out prevention and protection work within our communities has played a key role in educating residents on how to avoid being the victim of a fire and we firmly believe this is the way forward.

“I would like to reassure residents that a great deal of thought and evidence-based evaluation has gone into these proposals and into the resulting decision by the Fire and Rescue Authority today. I can say with complete confidence that the changes to crewing levels will in no way affect the number of whole-time appliances available should the worst case scenario happen and an emergency occurs. There will still be 10 appliances on the run during the day and eight overnight which is the way the Service currently operates. Each appliance will have the same number of crew as it presently has and the response times will be in line with the current levels.

“The proposals do not necessitate firefighter redundancies as the staffing changes take into account the retirement profile of the whole-time workforce and they have been aligned to meet the demands of the Service. To ensure that staffing levels are stable and fit for purpose, we plan to recruit new firefighters in 2018/2019 in-line with the expected retirement schedule.”


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