Hands Off Norfolk's Fire and Rescue Service
The Labour Group supports the FBU and Unison campaigns to oppose the Tory PCC takeover of our Fire and Rescue Service. Please read the FBU's own words below explaining why we need to fight this:
Please support your fire fighters and wider fire staff family to oppose the hostile take over of our service by Lorne Green, Police and Crime Commissioner. We are the ones doing the job on behalf of Norfolk, day in, day out, keeping our county safe. We know what is best for our service. If it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it! Trust us.
We are vehemently opposed to the take over, as it is a fundamental threat to our professional service:
1. We are a HUMANITARIAN service not an enforcement service. We enjoy high levels of public trust, satisfaction and confidence and communities know they can rely on us. Our role as independent and impartial life-savers enables us to reach all communities, in difficult political and social circumstances.
WASTE OF PUBLIC MONEY2. It is a and a costly experiment. Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent on paying private consultants to explore a business case. That is money that in these cash-starved times for public services should have been spent on the front line
. The cost of the initial report alone could have paid two fire staff for a year.
3. Lorne Green’s own report in to taking over our own service DID NOT JUSTIFY THIS COURSE OF ACTION. The police and crime commissioner’s commissioned report said that take over was only possible if there is consensus from stakeholders. We, the staff doing the job, are the biggest stakeholder. We REJECT this proposal.
4. There is CROSS-PARTY OPPOSITION from County Councillors. Councillors from all political parties have twice voted to reject this proposal, yet Lorne Green has persisted. Councillors REJECTED the take over as it was costly, disruptive and poor value for money. https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/news/2018/01/councillors-unite-and-vote-to-keep-fire-and-rescue-within-norfolk-county-council
5. The police and crime commissioner LACKS THE EXPERTISE to govern the fire service. PCCs do not bring any skills or expertise to the fire and rescue service.
6. Police and Crime Commissioner control over the fire service would DIMINISH LOCAL DEMOCRACY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. There would be too much power in the hands of one man. Currently our service is held to account and overseen by a cross-party group of County Councillors. We don’t always agree with them, but they are the best system of democracy we have for overseeing our service. Our County Councillors are elected with a much higher turn out of the electorate than the PCC, and have a stronger mandate to govern our service.
7. There is already good VOLUNTARY COLLABORATION BETWEEN ALL EMERGENCY SERVICES. There is nothing about the current governance of our service that prevents working together for the good of the public.
8. We are BETTER PROTECTED FROM CUTS AND AUSTERITY as part of the large County Council rather than a small Police & Fire Service. Our service has faced cuts, but we believe these would have been much more savage if we didn’t have the protection of sharing some costs with the large county council. The county council has access to a much bigger pot of “capital funding” which is the money we need to buy safety equipment and fire engines. This proposal would risk our safety.
9. We are ALREADY ONE OF THE CHEAPEST FIRE SERVICES in the country. We believe the only way the PCC could make us any cheaper to deliver would be to cut our service and get rid of staff. Just look at his record with Norfolk Police. He’s CUT EVERY SINGLE PCSO IN NORFOLK. Don’t make us next.
10. WE’RE NOT BROKEN. DON’T TRY TO FIX US.