Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-08-12

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4 NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2020 Fire service hit by pandemic News Suspect chased across the county A SINGLE confirmed case of coronaviru­s forced 20 staff at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to self-isolate and left firefighte­rs “struggling to maintain” cover in the county, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned. On July 25 a Surrey firefighte­r tested positive for Covid-19 – and according to the union, this came after staff underwent two days of training exercises “without proper infection prevention and control measures”, something the county council disputes. Following the positive test, 19 other staff members were removed from duty to self-isolate. According to the FBU, firefighte­rs reported that social distancing measures were not maintained during the training. Face masks were not worn during classroom sessions and firefighte­rs shared water bottles and cooling measures. Surrey County Council, which runs the fire service, said “comprehens­ive risk assessment­s” were in place and that those identified through the test and trace system had negative results but continued to self-isolate. Those individual­s were expected to be back at work from Monday last week. The incident has prompted concerns among the FBU regarding staffing at the service. The union claims that the situation was worsened by “a decade of cuts”, which has put the brigade in “an extremely vulnerable position”. FBU regional secretary Joe Weir said: “Surrey firefighte­rs have shown incredible dedication to their communitie­s during this pandemic, but their brigade has not shown the same dedication to keeping staff safe – and now it is seriously impacting fire cover.” He claimed that SFRS has returned to business as usual “as though we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic”. The county council says it does not recognise the union’s claims, and denied the positive case damaged its response capability. A statement said: “Appropriat­e control measures and operationa­l adjustment­s have been put in place. “We have continued to attend every emergency and ensured enough appliances to meet demand. We have not been at contingenc­y level or lower during this time.” Surrey firefighte­rs launched a six-month industrial action campaign against planned SFRS cuts in December, but paused the action due to the pandemic. By JAMIE PHILLIPS @JPhillips_SJ A MAN has been arrested after trying to evade armed officers and a police helicopter during a 25-mile pursuit across the county. The man initially failed to stop for local units in the Elmbridge area of Surrey at around 10.40am on Sunday August 2. Officers then gave chase with the assistance of a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter before the driver was finally brought to a halt in Frensham, around 25 miles south of where the pursuit began, at around 11.15am – 35 minutes later. One of the police cars was damaged after being used to stop the driver. A man was arrested on suspicion of multiple offences including dangerous driving, failing to stop, driving while disqualifi­ed and failing The police pursuit came to an end in Frensham SURREY ROAD COPS before eventually being stopped near Frensham with the help of NPAS. The driver has been arrested for numerous driving offences. “Unfortunat­ely one of our nice new cars sustained some damage while stopping this dangerous driver. With only 650 miles on the clock it’s off for a little bit of tender loving care at the body shop”. to provide a roadside sample. Surrey Police’s Roads Policing Unit, known as Surrey Road Cops, tweeted to confirm that one of its “nice new cars” had been damaged in the chase. It added: “The driver of this car failed to stop for local units yesterday. It today failed to stop for us and was pursued around Elmbridge PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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