Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase recently criticised Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority in Parliament for cutting frontline provision in Cannock and Rugeley, whilst refusing to consider making savings in back office functions instead.
Amanda Milling MP raised the issue in Parliament with Mike Penning, the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, when asking what the government is doing to encourage the merging of back office functions between police and fire authorities.
Amanda said: “I was incredibly disappointed when Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority ignored calls for consideration to be given to merging back office functions with Staffordshire Police, instead ploughing on with cuts in frontline services which have resulted in fire engines being removed from both Cannock and Rugeley. I firmly believe that these cuts to our local frontline fire service provision could have been avoided if Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority had engaged in talks with Staffordshire Police about sharing services and resources."
Amanda also pointed to a statement made by Mr Dartford, Chief Fire Authority Officer last year –
"Times have changed significantly in recent years, with the public sector facing ever increasing financial pressures which is why it is absolutely vital that we work ever more closely with our partners to ensure our residents continue to receive a first-class service.”*
Amanda commented: “While the Fire Authority believe this and said this only last October, they are refusing to put this intention into practice for the benefit of front line provision.”
Responding to Amanda Milling MP, Home Office Minister Mike Penning MP said the Government is seeing this form of greater integration elsewhere in the country and he was unsure as to why Staffordshire is not doing the same, describing emergency services working together as 'common sense'.
Amanda Milling, and a number of other Staffordshire MPs, have raised the issue of back office mergers between Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police after the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said he would welcome such a move.