union slams fire service plans to cut staff 'drastic and …

Hampshire s Fire Brigade Union has slammed Hampshire Fire & Rescue s proposals to cut the number of firefighters in Winchester.

In what the authority are calling their risk review , they have has outlined proposals including reducing the number of firefighters in Hampshire, replacing fire engines with emergency response vehicles and increasing the emergency response time.

We have great concerns over the proposals.

Whilst we have been involved in the process up to now, we have come to a point where we differ immensely on what we believe the answer to be , he added.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue, which has an annual budget of 65 million, faces a 12 million pound deficit over the next four years.

Speaking to WINOL, the authority s deputy chief, Neil Odin, said that although the number of firefighters would reduce, the changes were about improving the service.

We have financial savings to make but the proposals we know we can do this safely and we know we can do effectively , he said.

We have a priority: first of all keeping our firefighters safe, making sure our community is safe and making sure we fit our financial envelope, in that order .

The proposals are now at consultation stage and the service is urging members of the public to put their thoughts across between now and February, when the final decision could be made.

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