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Bucks firefighters to hold rally demanding ‘urgent investment’ in fire service

Tuesday, 5 December 2023 07:00

By Charlie Smith - Local Democracy Reporter

Firefighters in Buckinghamshire are set to hold a rally demanding “urgent investment” after a new Chief Fire Officer was appointed.

Members of different fire brigades will converge on West Ashland Fire Station in Milton Keynes on December 6 at 10am where they will call for more funding for Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Fire Brigades Union recently said the service had been “hollowed out under the watch of senior managers” who had been “asleep at the wheel” instead of “standing up against a brutal regime of cuts”.

The rally outside West Ashland Fire Station – part of the Blue-Light Hub – will coincide with a meeting of the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority in the same building later that morning at 11am.

The meeting will be the first attended by new Chief Fire Officer Louise Harrison since starting her job on December 4.

Last month’s announcement that Ms Harrison – a former policing director – would lead the fire service sparked outrage from the Fire Brigades Union.

The union said it was “deeply concerned” that the Chief Fire Officer “will have no experience of fighting fires” and said her appointment “undermines both public safety and public trust”.

Ms Harrison was announced in the new role after an October report into the service by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

Inspectors found that the service was “overly reliant” on other services and rated it “inadequate” for “protecting the public through fire regulation”.

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