Fire Brigades Union chairman renews plea for fire service to remain under County Hall control
PUBLISHED: 11:12 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 August 2018
The chairman of a firefighter’s union has made a fresh plea for the police and crime commissioner to leave the service in the hands of the county council.
Alan Jaye, chairman of the Norfolk Fire Brigades Union (FBU), has urged Lorne Green to listen carefully to all views, as he assesses whether to apply to the Home Office to take on responsibilities of Norfolk Fire and Rescue.
Mr Green is currently midway through his consultation into whether the future governance of the fire service should rest with him, taking him around the county gathering opinions.
And Mr Jaye, who has spoken out against the proposals in the past, was keen to re-emphasise the union’s stance on the matter.
He said: “Our position has not changed - we have heard Lorne’s views and are quite happy with the way we are currently run by the county council.
“There is currently very good scrutiny of the service we offer, which stands up. We feel this scrutiny is best done by a panel of people, rather than just one person.”
The FBU has already gathered more than 1,500 signatures to a petition calling for Norfolk County Council to retain control of the service, and Mr Jaye said he hoped Mr Green would take notice of this.
He added: “I really hope he listens to the feedback and realises people are strongly opposed to this. The union has held meetings about this both in Norwich and Great Yarmouth and our membership is against it.
“When so many seem in opposition, how can it be pushed forward?”
Alongside the petition, union members will demonstrate in Great Yarmouth market place on Saturday, August 25.
Mr Green said: “While I respect the FBU’s opinions, I was disappointed they launched a petition against change several weeks before the draft business case was even published.
“I have heard first-hand over the past few weeks the depth and variety of views of Norfolk Fire and Rescue personnel and look forward to hearing more over the coming weeks.”
People have until Wednesday, September 5 to participate in the consultation, which can be done at www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk
To mark the mid-way point of the consultation, Mr Green has scheduled a public meeting next week, which will be open for all to attend.
The eight-week consultation began on July 11 and is inviting views of the public on his case to become the county’s police, fire and crime commissioner.
So far, the PCC has visited a number of locations across the county, including Attleborough, Thetford and Great Yarmouth.
Mr Green said: “It has been really positive speaking face-to-face with so many members of the public as I’ve been out in supermarkets and market squares around the county in the last few weeks.
“I look forward to seeing lots of Norfolk residents on Wednesday.
“I would strongly urge people to make up their own minds by taking part in the consultation.”
The open public meeting will be held at Dereham’s Memorial Hall from 6pm on Wednesday, August 8.