The Fire Authority's Liberal Democrat team has been leading opposition to the Conservative administration's plan to privatise the Fire Brigade Control Room, which handles 999 calls.
During the days of the civil disturbances the control room handled two-to-three times the usual number of calls, with unprecedented peaks in the volume of calls on the nights of 8th and 9th August (when the riots took place). Despite widespread praise for the dedication and effectiveness of the Control staff, the Conservatives have singled them out for privatisation in the hope of making budget savings.
An excellent Greater London Assembly Member, Mike Tuffrey, challenged the idea at LFEPA's Annual Meeting. He pointed out that there were no tested private providers of 999 call-handling, that it risked splitting 999 call-taking from the rest of the Brigade's mobilising of fire engines and that such a vital function needed close management rather than an arms-length contractor.He said he will continue to oppose the plan, which the Conservatives hope to settle before the voters get a say next May.
When plans are announced you would have hoped a bit more background work had been done!