1. ITV Report

Firefighter numbers down by 1,000 in the East of England

The number of firefighters in the Anglia region has been cut by more than one-fifth since 2010. Photo: ITV News Anglia

The Fire Brigades Union says the service is at 'breaking point' as the number of firefiighters in the East has fallen by 22% since 2010. The union is warning that public safety is being put at risk.

Across the Anglia region there are more than four thousand firefighters but that is more than 1,000 fewer than there were in 2010.

The government maintains that fewer fires mean a reduced demand for the fire service.

The government maintains that fewer fires mean a reduced demand for the fire service. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The FBU says firefighters deal which much more than just fires with road accidents and flooding also keeping them busy.

Every fire brigade in the Anglia region has seen a drop in firefighter number since 2010 ranging from 42% in Cambridgeshire to 9% in Bedfordshire.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said it still had the same number of fire stations and more fire engines but changes in shift patterns meant they used staff more efficiently.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's David Hughes

Reduction in firefighter numbers between 2010 and 2018 in the Anglia region

  • Bedfordshire down from 433 to 393 (-9%)
  • Buckinghamshire down from 556 to 345 (-38%)
  • Cambridgeshire down from 650 to 378 (-42%)
  • Essex down from 1,275 to 1,017 (-20%)
  • Hertfordshire down from 802 to 629 (-22%)
  • Norfolk down from 783 to 706 (-10%)
  • Northamptonshire down from 501 to 384 (-23%)
  • Suffolk down from 657 to 544 (-17%)
The number of firefighters in Cambridgeshire has fallen by 42% since 2010.

The government says the number of fire incidents in England has halved in the past 10 years with fire prevention a real success.

"The Government recognises the vital role firefighters continue to play in protecting communities.

"We are confident that fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work."

– Home Office statement
A huge number of wildfires kept the fire services busy in the summer heatwave of 2018. Credit: ITV News Anglia