Cambs fire chiefs promise MPs threatened stations still able to recruit

CHRIS Strickland told Cambridgeshire MPs today he helped to run 'a fire service not a secret service' in a meeting at the House of Commons called to discuss possible multi million pound budget cuts.

Mr Strickland, the deputy chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire, was among a six strong team- headed by his boss Graham Stagg- to meet local MPs.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay said a key outcome was the assurance that Cambs Fire Service would continue to recruit at stations which have been under threat.

'Mr Stagg assured us that Manea and Sutton will not be run down ahead of any decision on their future,' said Mr Barclay. 'He told us it would be gross misconduct for any officer to run down a station intentionally ahead of any decision by the fire authority.

'We had a very clear steer from the top that retained stations should be able to recruit and I am appealing for more people to get involved.

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'I would like any constituent within five minutes of a retained station to consider getting involved, and don't forget they will be paid for their time for worthwhile work and they will be helping to keep stations open.'

Mr Barclay said another outcome was that Mr Strickland promised to produce details of everyone on the pay roll, their teams, grades and budget 'so we can understand back office costs. He made it clear he ran a fire service and not a secret service and was happy to provide whatever information we needed.'

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Roy Pegram, Chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority.

Mr Stagg said the authority was still not sure how much it would need to find but had so far identified how it can save almost �4.2 million.

'All these measures have been identified as having a minimal impact on the standard of service to the public,' he said.

However the service recognised that if further savings are needed 'uncomfortable decisions about removing frontline assets' could be a possibility.

Mr Stagg said: 'This is not something that we choose to do, however,

due to the financial situation it is a potential reality and one that we need to

face and to plan for.'

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