Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

November 21, 2011 11:15 ET

Firefighters Demand Senior Officers Come Clean on Axing Bucks Emergency 999 Fire Control

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2011) - The Fire Brigades Union is demanding a full public consultation over fire authority plans to axe Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service emergency 999 fire service command and control centre.

At its meeting on the 28th September the Fire Authority took the decision, behind closed doors, to commence the process of outsourcing the Aylesbury based emergency 999 control room to Cambridgeshire, over 50 miles away. A number of other options were dismissed without the evidence being made public or any consultation taking place.

Regional FBU Control official Andy Cooper said "The Fire Authority decision was taken behind closed doors, in secret, with only a handful of principal officers aware of the reason behind the recommendation. There has been no strategic, outline, or full business case presented to the public or to firefighters.

"At every public meeting where the future of the command & control function has been discussed, instead of councillors showing a commitment to promote their democratic principles through an open and transparent discussion of the issues which directly impact the public, the press and public have been excluded. Local firefighters have even been asked to leave so senior officers and elected representatives can talk in secret.

He added "These cuts will see the firefighters and managers working in the Aylesbury command & control room given the choice of either moving their families to the east of England, where they will most likely face redundancy, or object to the transfer and face the sack.

FBU Control representative Makyla Greaves said: "The closure of the local emergency fire control room affects the safety of firefighters and everyone who lives, works, travels through, or visits Milton Keynes & Buckinghamshire. The Fire Authority decision should be in the public domain. There is no reason for secrecy when we are talking about people's lives being put at risk.

"The firefighters working in Aylesbury in the command & control room are essential to the efficient functioning of our service and an essential part of the Fire Service Team. Any cuts here threaten the level of service provision to the public and the level of essential support provided for our fire crews at incidents. We are the front line of the front line."

Senior officers are so keen to keep this information out of the public domain that they still haven't responded to a freedom of information request made by the Fire Brigades Union on the 5th October seeking all supplementary information relating to the decision including any council papers, information, presentations and recommendations that were provided to the Authority to enable them to make an informed choice. This far exceeds the twenty working day statutory timescales.

Notes to editors:

The Cambridgeshire 999 control room is located Huntingdon. The current Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Command & Control room is located in Gatehouse Close, Aylesbury.

The road distance between the two control rooms is 54.4 miles

Firefighters and managers working in the emergency 999 control room will be taking part in a lobby of the full fire authority meeting on the 14th December

The FOI was submitted by FBU Brigade Secretary James Wolfenden on the 5th October to BFRS director of Human Resources Lynn Swift

Firefighters were asked to leave the Milton Keynes council offices during the Fire Authority meeting which took place on the 28th September so that councillors and senior managers could discuss control options in secret.

Contact Information

  • Press contacts:
    Makyla Greaves
    Control Secretary
    07973 523370

    Gillian Firth
    Control H&S Representative
    07597 187525

    Andrew Cooper
    Regional Control Representative
    07889 182762

    Ricky Matthews
    Regional Secretary
    07917 065863