Union backs police chief for leading fire role

Steve Howley, secretary of the FBU in North Yorkshire, supports Julia Mulligan's proposal to replace the existing North Yorkshire fire service watchdog.
Steve Howley, secretary of the FBU in North Yorkshire, supports Julia Mulligan's proposal to replace the existing North Yorkshire fire service watchdog.

The North Yorkshire branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced its support of a proposed change in how the region’s fire and rescue service is governed.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Julia Mulligan is consulting on whether the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority be scrapped and her office takes on oversight of the county’s fire and rescue service, or if she should just have a seat on the authority.

Brigade Secretary Steve Howley said Mrs Mulligan had given his organisation, which represents local firefighters, some assurances that she would invest in frontline services, and while it has concerns about the PCC taking charge, “the greater concern” is the existing authority which, he claimed, has failed to deliver an adequately resourced fire service.

“Considering all the information from the detailed discussions we have had with all sides and taking into consideration views expressed by our concerned operational staff, we have come to the difficult conclusion that the only alternative to the current chaos is to support the proposed change of governance,” Mr Howley said.

The FBU claim staff cuts have put North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (NYFRS) control room at crisis point, but NYFRS say a collaboration with a control room in Cornwall means the combined teams put staff numbers higher than before.