Jobs under threat if fire control rooms merge

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JOBS could be lost and public safety put at risk if emergency control rooms are merged across two counties, a fire union boss has warned.

The possibility of merging Warwickshire Fire and Rescue’s control room with Northamptonshire is currently being explored by the two services.

One of the options being looked at could see the two current control rooms in Leamington and Northampton - staffed by 38 employees around the clock - both close and replaced by a joint office half way between the two.

Steve Roberts, chairman of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), said: “We are against this option. It would lead to job losses, loss of local knowledge and a danger to firefighters and the public.”

A second option also being explored is one which would see the two control rooms linked together.

The plans are all part of a strategic alliance, approved by both services last month, in order to share resources and save money.

Mr Roberts said: “We are very keen for Warwickshire to keep its own identity.”

Jim Onions, assistant chief fire officer for Warwickshire, said it was too early to speculate how many, if any, jobs could be lost due to the proposed changes.

He added: “We will be working with control room staff to ensure a solution which best meets the needs of the local community and our staff.”

A decision is due to be made next year.