Isle of Wight and Surrey fire control centres merge

Fire service control centres for Surrey and the Isle of Wight are getting ready to merge, with both fire brigades being run from Reigate from next month.

The two fire services have signed up to a five-year merger deal which begins during the weekend of 3 and 4 March.

Surrey County Council said continual investment had kept the Reigate centre up to date and the Isle of Wight service had requested to use it.

The local authority said both areas would have a first-class service.

'First-class service'

Councillor Kay Hammond, Surrey's cabinet member for community safety, said: "We've spent a long time drafting this agreement to ensure it is in the best interests of both Surrey and the Isle of Wight.

"Safety is always our number one priority and by working together we'll provide a first-class service to the residents of both communities."

Surrey's assistant chief fire officer Steve Owen-Hughes said: "We are in a strong position because we've been investing in new technology, which means we have the capacity to work with the Isle of Wight with no impact on Surrey."

An Isle of Wight Council spokesman said the Isle of Wight control room would remain on standby for about a month after the transfer next month.

Three staff who worked in the island's control room will transfer to Surrey.

He said local knowledge of the island was not an operational issue, but residents on the island could take comfort from the fact that some Isle of Wight staff would be based in Reigate.

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