There has been a lot of debate recently about reforms to the Police Service, I have made my views on this subject perfectly clear and do not intend to contribute further today.
What has become clear, however, is this government’s absolute intention to reform everything in sight. I was watching the BBC London News last night and the lead item was about the proposed reform of the London Fire Brigade. As part of this craziness called Cost-Cutting they are faced with having to save £65 million from their budget. This maybe not be a huge amount when compared to savings needed to be found by each and every police force but it represents approximately 840 job losses, 30 Fire Stations to be closed and 30 Fire Engines ‘scrapped’. How can you close 30 Fire Stations in one city and not affect response times, service to the public and overall efficiency? Will more of our houses be at risk of burning down now? Earlier this year the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority outsourced the London Fire Brigade’s control room to Capita on a 10 year contract (does that sound familiar?). A quick look at the Fire Brigade Union website shows that this course of action is being mirrored all across the country. In almost every county there are cuts to Front Line fire services.
Earlier this month the Public Accounts Committee published its report entitled Transforming NHS ambulance services. It is clear from the ‘Conclusions and Recommendations’ section of this report that the Home Accounts Committee do not really understand the Ambulance Service and how it operates. With reforms to the NHS seemingly going ahead apace it seems only reasonable to assume that the Ambulance Service will be ‘reformed’ sooner or later, and that can only mean one thing, a reduction in funding and probable outsourcing of some functions. Who knows we might even see G4S Ambulances on our streets before very much longer.
So if any of you were still in any doubt whatsoever about this ConDem government of ours, the truth is out there. They are intent on reforming ALL of the Emergency Services, and by reforming I mean ‘cutting back’, slimming down’. These people would have us believe that they are not stupid, so they must be able to see the consequences of their actions. Cut Back on the Emergency Services HAS TO put lives at risk. The public, the Firemen (sorry ladies), the Ambulance workers and Paramedics and the Police Officers.
The Emergency Services are not immune from making savings, I’m sure we can all identify areas of excess and wastage and remedy the situation, but there has to be a limit. Not a single person’s personal safety should be put at risk for the sake of Reform. Reform the House of Commons, I’m sure there’s some wastage of public funds goes on there. Reform the Banking Industry, they seem to have got us into this mess. Do not dismantle the Emergency Services, quick to do but not so easy to put right again afterwards.