Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “We have serious concerns about this amalgamation of the blue light services and how it would work against a background of continuing cuts. Public safety must be paramount.
“Our fear is that this will translate into the American model which politicises emergency services in a competitive marketplace. A worst case scenario is that you could have the discredited G4S running the 999 service – it does not bear thinking about.
“This proposal would come under the umbrella of the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). Generally they have proved to be disastrous with little professional knowledge or experience. However they have ultimate responsibility for strategy and budgets.
“They have instigated privatisation and outsourcing of police staff services and will do likewise for the other blue light services. The FBU is totally opposed to the inclusion of fire services under the PCCs.
“About 10 per cent of police staff work in the 999 emergency call handling centres and are facing a merger with the 101 non-emergency call service. All this would be happening against the severe cuts to budgets that the Tories have implemented since 2010.
“We question whether this has been thought-out properly, or is it just a cover for more cuts?”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.