Monday, November 24, 2008

Fire Authority Meets at City Hall

On Thursday the LFEPA (London Fire & Emergency Planning) board met at City Hall. The change of venue from LFEPA headquarters was made because of fears that protesters would try to disrupt the meeting. In the event few people turned up, including several with Save the Fire Brigade Museum T-shirts, and there was no trouble.

Budget 2008/09

Next year's budget was discussed, and a number of savings - including closure of said museum - were discussed. The authority as a whole voiced its concern and a majority of the members - Labour, Green and Lib Dem - opposed the plans. Unfortunately, despite claiming that there were other ways to save money and balance the budget, Labour members did not propose any alternatives.

They are missing an opportunity to contribute, in my opinion. For the last eight years we were a minority on the authority but our leader, Brian Coleman (pictured), always proposed an alternative budget. Although we lost the vote, we did find that many of our ideas were picked up and implemented the following year! Labour members are in danger of looking negative and devoid of ideas to solve the mess they got the authority into.

Shut in Lifts

One charge that everyone did agree on was levying the cost of rescuing people trapped in lifts. With new blocks of flats - sorry, apartments - sprouting around town, lift maintenance is sometimes not carried out. When the lifts get stuck the brigade is called upon to get people out. In future, after nine free calls, the tenth will be charged to the property owners, hopefully encouraging better maintenance.

Hoax Calls

Recently we debated work done on preventing hoax calls. In the last three years, the brigade has prosecuted six people, four of who were found guilty, with one not guilty and one unfit to stand trial. The penalty is usually a fine, but a short prison sentence can be imposed in serious circumstances.

BNP in the Fire Brigade

Last week's publication of the BNP list led to suggestions that membership be outlawed in the fire service, as it is in the police. Personally, I'm not convinced. Currently BNP members can be elected to bodies that appoint members of fire authorities, creating the illogical prospect of members running the services who would not be allowed to serve in them. That situation would be difficult to explain to our workforce.


morris hickey said...

I am not sure that the BNP is specifically "outlawed" for police officers. My recollection (which may be incorrect) is that serving police officers are precluded from membership of ANY political party.

Perhaps the position might be checked and, if it is correct, the post updated.

Roger Evans said...

Rules on political party membership for police are not so prescriptive - you can be a member but not an activist or hold elected office. You cannot even be a member of the BNP as their values are held to contradict those of the police service. I understand that the legality of this condition could be tested in court as a result of the leaked list.

Anonymous said...

Banning people from employment because of their mere membership of a political party is a big step... and not one that I think fits well with our democratic tradition in this country. I'm NOT a BNP supporter myself.