Fire control room for Suffolk and Cambridgeshire backed

Plans for a combined command and control centre for Cambridgeshire and Suffolk fire and rescue services have been backed by a fire authority.

Cambridge and Peterborough Fire Authority agreed to the proposal in principle.

The plans were backed by the Suffolk Fire Service in December last year.

Both fire services believe the scheme has many advantages and will save money, but the Fire Brigades Union has criticised the plans.

A statement by both fire services said combining the two control rooms in Cambridgeshire's existing control room in Huntingdon would make significant savings in spending at a time of severe cuts.

'Confident of service'

Graham Stagg, chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire, said: "We are really pleased with today's decision. The agreement in principle allows us to continue our discussions with Suffolk to pursue the partnership.

"Staff in both control rooms currently provide a first class, professional and caring service to the people of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, and we are confident that we can continue to deliver this service as one combined team based in Cambridgeshire."

Andy Fry, Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk, said: "Through this shared arrangement we aim to provide high quality Fire and Rescue Services in both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire."

But Adrian Clarke, FBU regional secretary for East Anglia, has criticised the plans.

"There are great risks and few benefits, if any, in this venture for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

"The existing emergency fire control room is designed and set up to deal with 999 calls and emergencies within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and has a proven track record. If it ain't broke, why fix it?"

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