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Hampshire Police Federation Chairman: Closer working with fire and rescue "an opportunity, not a threat"

In Hampshire we have been working with the county's Fire and Rescue Service for some time - sharing buildings and back-office functions is nothing new. The Service has also taken on some functions from the police which they are better equipped for.

Calls such as concern for welfare where a forced entry is required will be attended by the Fire and Rescue Service and an ambulance. They have the capacity, legal powers and equipment to perform that role, so why not?

For the past couple of years people like me have been asking what police could stop doing because the scale of the cuts imposed on us meant we were breaking under the strain. This is one small area which has been trialled and appears to be working.

With fire and rescue services now falling under the Home Office a closer working relationship with the police is inevitable, and we need to see this as an opportunity, not a threat. Yes, the cultures are very different, but if we only focus on the negative side we will miss positive opportunities.

This doesn't mean we will remain silent when things are ill-conceived, and it's important that when we do challenge we are listened to. Hampshire Police Federation has an influential voice. We are listened to. But if all we do is shout - even when things seem to make sense - we will lose this influence. That would not be in the interests of those we represent, the service, or the public.

John Apter
Hampshire Police Federation


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