Page last updated at 21:18 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Plans to reduce firefighter posts

Plans to cut 12 firefighter posts in Worcestershire are to be discussed by the county's fire authority on Friday.

Proposals to remove four posts at Redditch, Bromsgrove and Kidderminster will be considered by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority.

The fire service said the plans would take it back to the national norm of seven on each shift and not change the number responding to emergencies.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the public would be "less safe".

'Financial challenges'

The fire service said if supported, the proposals would not involve any firefighter redundancies, but it would take on fewer new recruits next year.

It said the plans involved removing one post from each of the four shifts at the three towns.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hayden, said: "We face a number of significant financial challenges, but I remain confident that these proposals, if supported, will not put the public or my firefighters at risk."

But Pete Hope, of the FBU in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said the public were "substantially less safe" this year than they were five years ago.

He said: "Every firefighter post we lose means a slower, less efficient and less effective response to emergencies.

"It means those left are more thinly spread and operate under more stress.

"It means spending more money on overtime payments. Council tax payers are paying more and getting less for it."

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