Report on Scottish fire reform launched
THE REPORT looks at both fire service and police reform, and cites ‘new opportunities created’ by ‘single services’ based on inter service partnerships.
The Scottish government stated that ‘innovations in road safety, mental health and fire safety’ were part of the report, which looked at how Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have ‘worked with partner bodies’ including the NHS, Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and community groups as well as one another since reform started in 2013.
In turn, the report noted that partnership working focused on prevention ‘was firmly embedded across both bodies’ and considered ‘business as usual’, while a series of ‘strong’ local examples of cooperation were highlighted. These included the police working with the NHS to ‘reduce the number of individuals in mental health difficulty taken unnecessarily to Accident and Emergency or custody’, as well as police and fire teams working with SAS to teach young people ‘to drive’ and reduce the chance of accidents.
Finally, a community safety initiative that aimed to ‘improve fire safety awareness among vulnerable people’ involved SFRS, the police and local housing and community teams was cited. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson stated: ‘This report clearly demonstrates some of the benefits of police and fire reform and the excellent partnership working in the community and health service in local areas to improve the safety of a number of vulnerable groups.
‘The 2018-19 budget provides additional spending power of £15.5 million to allow SFRS to invest in service transformation, on top of the £21.7 million increase in the operational budget for service this year. We are also committed to protecting the police resource budget in every year of this Parliament – a boost of £100 million by 2021 and have continued police reform funding for a further year, with an investment of £31 million planned to support the implementation of the Policing 2026 strategy.
‘As reform moves forward we will continue to learn lessons from the evaluation process to ensure both staff and the wider public feel the benefit of single police and fire services.’