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The Isle of Wight Council plans to delay a decision over the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service review to allow more time to consider the proposals.

While the Council insists the new model, which has been recommended by its specialist fire officers, will be safe, the local authority has recognised the concerns raised by the public and firefighters at Tuesday’s scrutiny meeting.

The Council will now consider the matter at tonight’s (Thursday’s) Cabinet meeting, with a view to deferring a vote on the proposals until a special-convened meeting next month.

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While mindful the proposed changes are largely operational, Cabinet will also consider a proposal from the scrutiny committee to make the information around the review more publicly accessible.

Councillor Gary Peace, Cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said:

“These recommendations follow a detailed and thorough service evaluation and risk-based consultation with staff and unions.

“Having served for 18 years as an operational police officer, and being fully engaged with the work of fire services during my time, I fully understand the concerns expressed by all staff, together with the issues of morale and stretched resources.

“This is why, when I take, in conjunction with my Cabinet colleagues, the final decision on the plans, we will have considered all views from all ranks and all parts of the service to inform our own decision-making process.”

Council leader Councillor Dave Stewart added:

“We are in a climate of change and we have a public duty to review service provision and ensure we are continuing to provide an efficient and effective service.

“However, I do not intend to compromise public safety.

“The offer I made to defer the decision will enable us all to be better informed and do the right thing for our Island residents.”

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