Campaign launched to keep fire service at heart of West Sussex communities

Safer in Our Hands launch outside County Hall in Chichester on Friday July 22 SUS-160722-170906001

Safer in Our Hands launch outside County Hall in Chichester on Friday July 22 SUS-160722-170906001

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A campaign to keep fire and rescue services at the heart of West Sussex communities has been launched.

Following new Government legislation, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is exploring the possibility of taking over fire services in both East and West Sussex.

Safer in Our  Hands logo SUS-160722-170850001

Safer in Our Hands logo SUS-160722-170850001

She is due to commission a business case on the proposals, but changes to how fire services could governed have been opposed across the county.

West Sussex County Council launched its ‘Safer in Our Hands’ campaign today (Friday July 22), something which this newspaper is backing, as the fire and rescue service is heavily integrated into the authority’s structure.

A motion supporting the existing model received cross-party support at a WSCC Full Council meeting today.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of WSCC, said: “I’ve always been of the belief that if something is right, you have to fight for it.

“That is why I am really determined to do all I can to keep this excellent service, which provides so much to our residents in so many ways.

“Please support us and put your name to our petition.”

Residents can show their support by:

• Signing an online petition

• Filling in a form in September’s West Sussex Connections and returning it to the council

For more information see the county council’s website.

The motion, put forward by Peter Evans (con, East Preston and Ferring), said: “This county council recognises the benefits for our residents of the integration of the fire and rescue service with other vital council services and its close working with partners.

“The service is democratically accountable and we believe that the model we are operating in West Sussex is the right one for our county and the communities we serve.

“The council therefore encourages every member to promote this model for the service at every opportunity.

“It is always possible to improve democratic accountability and transparency and we will use this opportunity to build such improvements in to the model we have.”

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