Residents in Waltham Forest will be put at risk if the Mayor’s plans to privatise Fire Brigade 999 call handling go ahead, warn the borough’s Liberal Democrat Councillors.
Conservatives on the London Fire Authority backed by Mayor Boris Johnson propose to contract out the Fire Brigade Control Room that handles over 200,000 emergency 999 calls a year. They intend to push their controversial plan through before voters get a say in next May’s Mayoral and London Assembly elections, when controversial Conservative LFEPA boss Cllr Brian Coleman risks being ousted.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Farooq Qureshi said:
“I was shocked to hear of this plan. It makes no sense to separate the people answering 999 calls from the rest of the Fire Brigade. There are no private companies with a decent track record in this highly specialised fire safety work. It will just end up costing more money as the Fire Brigade will need an army of staff to check the private call handlers are getting it right. This is all about Conservative dogma rather than what is best for local residents’ safety.”
The Fire Brigade’s Union is also strongly opposed to the privatisation plan.
Commenting on the sell off Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London, Brian Paddick said:
“As a former police chief I recognise that control rooms are an essential part of the emergency response. Privatising the fire brigade control room runs the risk of providing a second class service at a higher cost to the public.”