Joint Fire Control For Berkshire And Oxfordshire

A £3.6 million grant has been secured for a single control room for the two fire services.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue made the joint bid for funding last November, after an initital proposal for a South East control centre was terminated in 2010.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue then decided to team up with crews in Cambridgeshire, leaving Oxfordshire and Berkshire to put in a bid themselves.

Managers say the plans are still in their very early stages with no decisions yet about where the joint control room will be located and and the impact on jobs.

It's hoped to be in operation by spring 2014.

Chief Fire Officer at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Iain Cox, said:

"I am delighted that the Fire Minister has confirmed that we have been awarded the full grant funding we bid for.  

"There is still a huge amount of work to be done but, now that we know we have the funding in place, we can continue with our plans for a single joint Control function, which we expect to be in operation by spring 2014.

"In the meantime, we are committed to supporting our staff through this period of change.

"Individual Control rooms are becoming increasingly unviable due to falling incident numbers and the consequential increase in cost per call handled.  

"By sharing a Control function with Oxfordshire, we will be able to provide a more resilient, cost-effective and improved service to our firefighters and the public we serve."

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