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Statement from Cllr Chris Botten on the HMICFRS report

December 20, 2018 11:09 AM

Chris Botten LargeResponding to the publication of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services report into Surrey Fire and Rescue, Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Surrey County Council said:

"Yet again we read of a Surrey Service which has been judged Requires Improvement or Inadequate. Perhaps the report's most troubling criticism is that the service doesn't have a robust operational model and needs to ensure it has enough resources, (people and equipment) available to respond to risk in line with its risk management plan.

This concern chimes with issues raised directly with us by the FBU, and will worry residents of Surrey. I note that a response since the Inspection has been to recruit 30 full time firefighters with another 16 to be recruited by the Spring, which will give some comfort, but yet again residents are having to read that a vital service is not of the quality they have the right to expect.

I set the new Council Leader a challenge at the last council meeting, that Surrey County Council must be competent and trustworthy. The Fire Service is another area which fails that test. Cuts in service are having to be reversed because poor judgements were made and the Fire Fighters themselves not listened to.

Let's hope that the new leadership at SCC turns this service round quickly- dedicated fire fighters and residents deserve no less."