Fewer emergency service workers in Tyne and Wear

Fewer emergency workers are keeping people in South Tyneside safe than a decade ago, figures suggest.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 4:19 pm
Emergency services cuts

Home Office and NHS Digital figures show the equivalent of 4,332 full-time emergency workers – police, fire and ambulance staff – were employed in the region this year – 16% fewer than in 2011.

Among them were the 2,941 frontline police officers as of March 31 – 19% fewer than at the same point in 2011.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service had the equivalent of 591 full-time firefighters responding to emergencies as of the end of March – 281 fewer than in 2011.

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It was a different story for the North East Ambulance Service, which saw its staff numbers increase by 17% from 686 in September 2011, to 800 as of July this year but it’s staff have seen their workloads increase dramatically because of the effects the coronavirus pandemic is having on the NHS.

The Police Federation said the Government's promise of 20,000 new police officers by the end of 2023 does not go far enough.

A spokesman said: “An increase in the number of police officers is desperately needed. The population in England and Wales has grown by four million in the last decade and the time officers spend dealing with non-crime issues – such as helping vulnerable people and those in mental health crises - has also increased.”

The Fire Brigades Union said anyone working in the public sector frontline would agree that "austerity is not over".

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “For fire and rescue, every pound cut from our budget means a greater likelihood of smaller crew numbers, fire stations shutting, and the loss of resources such as fire engines.

“In turn this all means longer response times to incidents, and a greater risk to lives, property, heritage and the environment.”

The Government said it had "consistently" given emergency services the resources they need to keep people safe.

A spokesman added: “We have now recruited more than half of the promised 20,000 additional police officers, invested £2.3bn this year to support the work of firefighters and NHS England have given ambulance trusts an extra £55m to boost staff numbers ahead of winter.”