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Fire Board Member Responds To Community Planning Statement On Police & Fire Reform

>> 11 September 2011

Responding to comments made in a statement by Cllr Anne Robertson, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council and Chair of Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership that: “Aberdeenshire is a rural area with unique challenges which we believe are best met through local democratic and accountability arrangements”, Grampian Fire & Rescue Joint Board member Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“I agree with that sentiment. At present, only 15 councillors out of 137 in Grampian sit on the Fire Board with the same number sitting on the Police Board. Under the proposed reforms, I’m pleased to see that Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill has said the current democratic deficit will be addressed and more elected local representatives will have a say in the governance of services.

“As an elected member, I have a duty to protect the service delivery provided to best serve my constituents. I do not agree that the best way to do this in our small country is to have 8 Chief Constables, 9 Deputy Chief Constables and 13 Assistant Chief Constables at a cost of nearly £3.5million per annum, nor do I agree that duplicating Human Resources departments, finance departments, procurement, IT and equality officers, eight times is giving the public best value.

“My experience as a Fire Board member clearly tells me that if reform is not carried out and wasteful duplication eliminated, then frontline services will suffer in the face of the Tory/Lib Dem cuts being handed down from the London Government.”

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