Cambridgeshire: Fire Control Merger

Merging the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk fire control rooms "poses no risk to public safety", according to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The new combined control room in Huntingdon, at the headquarters of Cambridgeshire Fire Service, now also takes calls from Suffolk.

The move will save each fire service £400,000 per year.

Of the 24 staff in the existing Suffolk control room, 18 have been made redundant and six have moved across to Huntingdon.

The new system went live at 8pm last night (Tuesday), with both fire services reporting that all systems are working "smoothly".

Neil Newberry, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We don't expect that anyone dialling 999 will notice a difference to the way that their emergency calls are being taken.

The Combined Fire Control also gives us the opportunity to work together in the future and further improve the service we offer to those in both counties."

Mark Sanderson, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: "We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the hard work and loyalty that all control operators have shown.

We recognise that it's been a difficult time for staff over the last few years, with changes brought about by the Regional Control Centre project and also the Combined Control project and we pay tribute to their hard work and dedication.

In order to make the project a success, a great deal of work has taken place, not only in fire control, but also behind the scenes."

The merger comes as Cambridgeshire Fire Service is in the middle of a big cost-cutting programme due to a reduced government grant following the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The service has already identified £4.2 million pounds worth of savings to make, including back office job cuts, however it may need to make up to £6 million pounds worth.

Cambridgeshire Fire Service managers have said that any cuts above the £4.2 million are likely to have significant impacts on frontline services.

They'll know exactly how much money they need to save in February 2012.

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