Mayor Overrules Brigade Leaders
London’s Mayor Boris Johnson is pressing ahead with cuts to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) which would result in a decrease of 520 firefighters. A dozen stations and some 18 engines would be closed or placed out-of-service.
The LFB is one of the world’s largest fire services, deploying about 5,800 firefighters at 122 stations across the 600 square mile city.
A few days ago the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority declined to press ahead with the measures citing a threat to public safety. The Mayor was apparently unconvinced.
American born and conservative politician Boris Johnson is gaffe prone, absurd and re-electable. A bit of Johnsonian political philosophy: “if you vote for the Conservatives, your wife will get bigger breasts, and your chances of driving a BMW M3 will increase.”
The Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU) regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said, in part: “These cuts are reckless and wrong, and it is an outrage that the mayor is going against the democratic decision of his own fire authority and the wishes of most Londoners. The mayor makes the absurd claim that these cuts would somehow improve public safety. But the London Fire Brigade’s own figures reveal that the cuts would result in increased response times for nearly five million Londoners, with only a fifth of the capital’s population seeing an improvement.”
One wonders if the FBU would have a stronger hand if they engaged in the integrated delivery of both basic and advanced medical care?