Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today warned that SNP centralisation has taken its toll on the fire service after new research by the party revealed that the number of fire safety enforcement and audit officers has fallen by a third since 2014/15.
A freedom of information request by the party revealed that the total number of enforcement officers and audit officers has fallen from 121 in 2014/15 to 81 in 2017/18.
Fire safety enforcement officers enforce fire safety law in the workplace, evaluating activities and facilities and ensuring fire safety management are complied with.
Mr McArthur said:
“These new figures show that the number of fire safety enforcement and audit officers has fallen by a third since 2014. This news will come as a real shock to the public in Scotland who know what a valuable role these staff perform in helping save lives.
“These officers are responsible for the preventative work that not only ensures people are safe at work but reduces the risk of incidents occurring. The loss of these officers risks piling more pressure on other parts of the fire service
“The Grenfell Tower disaster showed how important it is to have fire regulations that are robust and enforced. In the wake of this dreadful tragedy, the public will be worried to learn that the number of fire safety inspectors has decreased so dramatically.
“What's more, this news comes hot on the heels of a report showing that over 1,000 firefighters have been lost on the SNP’s watch.
“Following their decision to centralise fire and rescue services, SNP ministers must explain to anxious members of the public why these jobs have been cut and how this helps enhance the safety of homes and workplaces across Scotland.”