Hampshire residents are being invited to have their say in shaping the future of their fire service.
Proposals drawn up by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service following a comprehensive review of its services have today (9 September) been approved by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority to go to public consultation. The consultation will formally begin on Monday (14 September).
The proposals, which aim to deliver a fire and rescue service fit for the demands of the future, have been carefully considered by the Authority, who now want to hear from the residents of Hampshire.
Cllr Chris Carter, Chairman of the Fire Authority, said:
"The Authority has considered the proposals in great detail. The proposals help us to provide a more effective service whilst also assisting us with our financial challenges.
"While there may be changes to the way we provide our services, the safety of the public and our firefighters remains our absolute priority.
"As council tax payers, the Hampshire public are our customers and so it is absolutely right we give them a voice in how their fire service looks in the future."
The proposals will help the Service plan for a safer Hampshire, focusing resources in the areas of greatest risk.
Chief Officer Dave Curry said:
"Hampshire has changed so much over the last decade and so has the demand on our services. The way we are funded is changing too.
"We want to provide a smarter, more relevant and more efficient service to the residents of Hampshire whilst addressing financial challenges.
"Our ambition continues to be the best fire and rescue service in the country and to make life safer for everyone in Hampshire."
In the face of a £12.2million financial gap of Government funding, the Service has already implemented several innovative solutions to address these financial challenges.
These include the merging of back office functions with Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Constabulary, and co-locating with local police teams at fire stations around the county. A joint fire and police headquarters is also being created, with police staff moving to the fire service's base in Eastleigh later this year.
Residents of Hampshire will be invited to have their say on the future of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service during this consultation period from 14 September – 4 December. The public will be able to share their thoughts and opinions via an online questionnaire or by attending a public meeting.
More details on how to take part will be available on Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website from 14 September. The questionnaire will be managed by a specialist social research practise company and will be completely confidential.