Worrying times at fire service

PUBLISHED: 17:33 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:59 10 June 2010

STAFF at the Clyst St George control room face an uncertain future after Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) announced only 63 employees will be kept for the new regional control centre.

STAFF at the Clyst St George control room face an uncertain future after Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) announced only 63 employees will be kept for the new regional control centre.

The new South West Regional Control Centre (SWRCC) will be based at Blackbrook Park, Taunton, and will replace all control rooms in the area.

The Taunton centre will receive its first calls next year and replace the only Devon site by 2012 - during the transition, the SWRCC will have a high number of staff from across the regions transferred but only 63 people out of the current 127 will be kept.

Clive Kemp, the regional project director of the South West, said: "Although the SWRCC will employ less staff than is currently employed, we are confident that fire and rescue services will do all that they can to lessen any adverse impact on staff. It is unlikely, however, that redundancies can be avoided."

The downsizing has sparked opposition from people who have expressed their fear at the loss of expert staff and getting an engaged tone when they ring 999.

Jerry Wilmott, chair of the local authority controlled company board of directors, said: "Establishing these staff numbers is an important stage of the SWRCC.

"The public will continue to receive a very high standard of service, with increased resilience and safety across the South West.

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