The number of firefighters at the busiest station in North Wales could be slashed by up to 24 posts, in a move the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called ‘brutal’ for public safety.
North Wales fire authority looks set to cut £1m from its 2019/2020 budget following a meeting last week. The move, which also includes the removal of one of two fire engines at Wrexham fire station, has led to calls for an independent review into the service before any more cuts are made, in order to maintain the same level of public safety.
Shane Price, secretary of the FBU in North Wales, said: “I understand the financial position the service are in, however losing a further 24 full time posts within a small service like North Wales will be a devastating loss. We have already suffered huge cuts over the past few years with one in five frontline firefighter jobs being cut. It is simply inconceivable that we can take more of this and deliver the same level of service to the public.
“Wrexham will be hit especially hard by these cuts at a time when the area is facing what the former police and crime commissioner, Winston Roddick, described as an epidemic of arsons. Last year alone, firefighters from Wrexham dealt with 55 arson attacks at the Caia Park housing estate.”
Grant Mayos, FBU executive council member for Wales, said: “Following the recent construction and opening of the new £15m joint fire and ambulance station in Wrexham, the first of its kind in Wales, and having been three years in development, to almost instantaneously axe our second fire engine and reduce essential fire cover by half at a busy station such as Wrexham is beyond irresponsible.”
Figures published last year by the FBU revealed that North Wales Fire and Rescue Service had cut the number of frontline firefighters by almost 20% since 2010. The engines based at Wrexham support outlying fire stations at Johnstown, Chirk and Llangollen.