Fire crews toast control reverse decision

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 December 2010




FIRE crews have joined their bosses in voicing their delight after plans for a regional control centre were scrapped.

However, the emergency crews insist millions of pounds ploughed into the ill-fated scheme should have been spent on life-saving equipment instead.

The move – instigated by the past Government but ditched by the new one - had been unpopular with crews, who argued that a loss of local patch knowledge could slow response times and put lives at risk.

But while the news has been broadly welcomed by firefighters, they do say the whole episode has wasted millions of pounds of badly-needed cash.

And coming at a time when the fire service is facing a funding reduction of more than nine per cent, they say their views should have been listened to all along.

South West Fire Brigades Union (FBU) spokesman Tam McFarlane said: “We welcome the fact that the Government has finally accepted what the FBU has always said, that the regional control centre project was a disaster that threatenedthe operational effectiveness of the fire and rescue service and wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, and has now finally scrapped it.

“We take no comfort in saying ‘I told you so’ but we have warned that this project had little or no chance of success and the voice of professionals in the service were ignored.

“The big lesson for Government must be that in future they must listen to the professionals in the Service instead of wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money on a project that no one in the service wanted or believed could work.”

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