Fire stations set to merge with police in Milton Keynes

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A £3million cash injection will pay for firefighters and police officers to join forces, which the union says could increase emergency response times.

This week the city’s fire service won a share of a £75million fire transformation fund from the government to improve frontline services. They plan to spend it on merging two fire stations and a police site to make a “modern joint facility”.

The Fire Brigades Union argue this decision has been made without consulting the public – despite a merge being one of the proposals being considered by Bucks and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service in their three-month public safety plan.

An FBU spokesman said: “The FBU strongly condemns any further cuts to the fire service as they increase risk levels and compromise both public and firefighter safety.

“It is clear that any merger of two fire stations will result in the closure of at least one site.

“Some members of the public will undoubtedly see their local fire station moved further down the road resulting in increased response times.”

He added: “In this instance it would appear BFRS has already taken an important decision affecting fire service provision without first speaking to the public and gaining their views and input.

“The FBU believes that by making this decision without first speaking to the public or FBU greatly undermines important democratic principles.”

In response to these accusations, a BFRS spokesman said there are no firm plans in place, but when there is, the public will be able to voice their views on the proposal before any decision is made.

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt, who announced the fund winners on Monday, said the fund had been to ensure the service is working in the most efficient way after a 46 per cent reduction in call-outs and incidents over the past decade.

Mick Osborne, head of service transformation at BRFS, said: “We are delighted that the joint bid from ourselves and Thames Valley Police, which will enable us to work more closely and effectively together on a shared site, has been successful.

“Following the recent 
public consultation on our Public Safety Plan 2015-20, proposals are now being worked on and a further public consultation will take place in due course.”