Fire chief isn’t crying wolf

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CHIEF fire officer Jamie Courtney could be accused of crying wolf - except his claims about continued cuts have real substance.

The fire service in South Yorkshire has already seen a quarter of its budget cut in the past 12 months.

And he fears that if they are to experience a similar level of cuts for the rest of the spending review period to 2015 then lives will be put at risk.

This is a refrain we are more used to hearing from the Fire Brigades Union. But when it comes from the chief fire officer, then someone in Government really must start paying attention.

Unlike the police force, the fire service has been given less protection from the spending review and is having to take a larger slice of budget cuts.

It has already seen a restructuring of the service with a reduction in operating fire stations. But further cuts will start to go more deeply.

Clearly, the timing of Mr Courtney’s statement is important and he will be accused of scaremongering. But when the chief starts screaming you have to think there is no smoke without fire.

A good man and a credit to police

FROM the trivial to the tragic, senior police officer Bob Dyson has seen it all.

His 36-year career makes him South Yorkshire’s longest-serving officer and has seen him rub shoulders with Tony Blair and the Queen.

In that time, policing has changed so much, but one thing remains constant - for the force to succeed it needs officers like Bob.

He says he was never going to do anything else and feels fortunate he spent his working career doing what he loved.

It shows. Bob is a hard-working, dedicated officer. He’s the type of character who gives the force a good name.

He has been a fantastic servant to South Yorkshire police and we wish him the happy retirement he so fully deserves.

No more strikes

AFTER this summer’s strikes at Shefield’s recycling sites, we do not wish to see a repeat.

So a move by recycling centres operator Sova to resolve the long-running dispute with staff over cuts to opening hours is welcome.

The company is bidding for a contract to recycle bulky waste which would create enough work for front-line staff to return to full-time hours. If it fails, the workers may decide to vote for more strikes. Regardless of the waste contract, a solution to the dispute needs to be agreed without another strike.

It is the only way forward.