FBU News: Ludicrous pay rises to directors at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been slammed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
According to the results of a freedom of information request, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s director of people and organisational development, Anne-Marie Scott, was this year awarded a 21.35% pay increase. Deputy chief fire officer Trevor Ferguson saw his pay rise by 14.96% and chief fire officer, Andy Fry, was handed a 10.38% increase. Assistant chief fire officer Paul Southern received a 5.01% pay rise.
The revelations come as frontline firefighters and control staff find their pay capped at a below inflationary 1% for the fifth year in a row. This came after a two-year period when pay for all firefighters was frozen as part of the government’s public sector pay freeze.
Richard Jones, secretary of the FBU in the south east, said: “These revelations are a smack in the face of every firefighter working in Berkshire who has suffered years of pay freezes and pay caps only for those at the top to be substantially rewarded. It is a clear example of one rule for them and another for us.
“Firefighters’ workloads are increasing as budget cuts have dramatically reduced the number of personnel in the service. We are having to do a lot more work with fewer resources.
“We are facing budget cuts of up to £2.5 million from frontline service across Berkshire over the next three years. Fire service staff are distraught at being under threat of redundancy. The fact that directors have been awarded a whopper pay rise is an insult.”
Since 2010, 93 frontline firefighter jobs have been axed in Berkshire.
From FBU online: A dramatic decline in the amount of fire prevention work that fire and rescue services perform is putting lives at risk, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said, as new figures show that 10,000 jobs have been axed in England over the last seven years.
The home office’s ‘Fire Operational Statistics Bulletin’, released today, also reveals:
The figures are worrying because the number of fire deaths has rocketed by 15% in the past year – the single biggest percentage increase in 20 years.
The union has also warned of a ‘generational time bomb’ as the number of young firefighters aged between 16-24 has dropped by a shocking 40% in the past five years reflecting a lack of recruitment. The average age of a firefighter is now 41.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “We are deeply concerned about the impact of job cuts on the public’s fire and rescue service. The government’s data shows that fire services are now cutting back even further on fire prevention work because the workforce has been stripped. Fire services are struggling to cope with the current workload.
“The government have prioritised balancing the books over all else, including public safety. These figures paint a damning picture of today’s fire and rescue service, which is simply not safe in the hands of this government. Resources continue to be slashed, it’s taking longer to get to fires and more people are dying as a result.”
The new findings are the latest in a series of alarming statistics that show how budget cuts are compromising the service the public receive. In addition to the rising number of fire deaths announced in August, it was revealed late last year that response times to fires are now at their slowest in 20 years.
The full home office bulletin can be found here.
Subscribe to the fire and rescue service's lottery here.
Scottish government press release Tuesday:
Same-sex sexual activity now lawful to be pardoned.
BBC News - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37764566
In Westminster Friday:
'Turing Bill' for gay pardons fails in Parliament
2013 background to this news
Dear Mr Campion,
As PCC for West Mercia I am appealing to you to look into allegations of pro-hunt bias in the West Mercia police force.
I understand that 'PCCs have been elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.' There has been considerable speculation on social media that when it comes to illegal hunting, the West Mercia police show bias in favour of hunting with allegations of a pro hunt culture and possible links to freemasonry- a link highlighted in the Operation Tiberius report from 2002 which made for worrying reading.
Furthermore, video evidence from anti hunting protestors suggests bias in police attitudes and I note a freedom of information refusal notice on the West Mercia police website which states an 'excess of 880 records returned' linked to hunting. This information is therefore not available publicly, doing little to allay concerns.
I note that one of your key election pledges was to 'work towards...a more reassured West Mercia'. I am certainly not reassured by anything I have heard, and the slow progress of charging suspects in the case of the live fox cubs thrown into a kennel full of hounds is absolutely outrageous. That video caused outrage when it was featured in the national press-not only is such an act illegal, it is a shocking example of hunt deceit whereby the claim that hunting is any form of 'pest control' is revealed to be a lie.
I don't know how familiar you are with other instances of hunt crime but there have been numerous cases of captive animals found on hunt property as a ready supply to chase. The leaked email by Simon Hart of the countryside alliance warning of a nationwide shortage of foxes and an urging of landowners to breed more (with the line that any public knowledge of such facts would ruin the reputation of hunting by making it 'a laughing stock' as it clearly counters the argument of 'pest control') was telling.
My concern is that any bias in the West Mercia police encourages hunts such as the South Hereford to feel that they are at liberty to flout the law and can be reassured that the police will turn a blind eye. This would, surely, be an outrageous situation. Whatever views one may hold on the issue of hunting morally, the police have a duty to be impartial and to prosecute fairly any instances of law breaking-which the cub case clearly is.
I do hope that you will look into this matter and, as per your election promise, reassure the many of us concerned about a culture of bias towards this issue that it has been addressed and eradicated in West Mercia. I suspect that you will be shocked at the outrage that will erupt if the South Hereford hunt case runs out of time before reaching court. Despite its release on the day of the EU referendum, the case was featured in almost all the national papers as well as the BBC-the public overwhelmingly oppose hunting according to the most recent polls and the Hereford case was particularly outrageous.
I will be forwarding a copy of this email to the IPCC as I am very concerned that this matter is not being taken seriously. I have as yet still had no response from the West Mercia police and little I have seen has raised any hopes that this is all above board.
I do hope that you will do your best to communicate my concerns to the police and I look forward to your response-and a swift charging of those responsible.
Background - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36598935
We as the ex crew of New Brighton Lifeboat station are flabbergasted by the latest developments at the station.
We have been informed by a reliable source that as of 15:00 today till Sunday 19:00 NO COVER is available and the boat is off-service.
This will undoubtedly put the public at risk due to this vital fast response service not being available.
The RNLI will state that Hoylake will cover the area with it's ALB (All Weather Lifeboat) and now New Brighton's ex hovercraft stationed permanently at Hoylake. With all the speed in the world, this will add vital minutes to any rescue and from our experience on the hovercraft will mean a 15-20 minutes delay.
And all this while 21 sacked or resigned crew are trained and available to respond to any emergency using the boat stationed at New Brighton.
Despite our continued attempts to overturn the decision by the RNLI and to formally talk to the crew they have dismissed, no response has been received.
Despite over 2000 signatures on online and local petitions from the public asking for the reinstatement of the crew, they have ignored and shunned the public in this matter.
What is more appalling is the deception that the station is open and available.
They have since re-opening the station brought up helms from various locations around the UK and placed them in local hotels paid for by the public's donations.
This is due to the fact that the station itself has no passed out helms, as all 4 were sacked or resigned, followed by just a few new crew left who are not competent and require further training.
It usually takes over 12- 18 months to be a competent helm or crew.
How long will the RNLI keep this situation going and ignore the crew who have put over 300 years collectively into keeping the public safe?
Open Letter to:
UK PM Theresa May
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn
Liberal Democrat Party leader Tim Farron
Friends and Comrades
One woman is campaigning in the UK to include water safety in the national curriculum.
Becky Ramsay wants the government to ensure open-water safety, and the dangers in and around open-water, is taught in schools.
This could be a life-saver.
It would be too late for Becky's son Dylan who was just another water related fatality in 2011.
Since that time Becky has campaigned tirelessly, including petitions, but five years on young people are still dying, often attracted to water such as canals and reservoirs during the summer months.
Becky tells us:
It does not seem a controversial subject; most people are shocked that it is not taught in schools already and some people do believe that it is down to parents.
Who can disagree with Becky's reasoning?
Becky is about to launch a new petition and this time we will make sure it is well supported and the government listens and acts accordingly.
Plans for a Twitterstorm in the near future are being finalised.
Details of both will be added later.
Please support Becky and all the other families bereaved due to tragic accidents in open water.
With appropriate education the government can make a real difference.
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