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'Fire & Rescue unlikely to charge for non-emergencies'

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EVEN if the Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service were to bring in a scale of charges for its non-emergency services, it would be unlikely to send out invoices very often, its chief has said.

A report published in June by PwC benchmarked the services provided by the Education, Sport & Culture and Home Affairs.

It made several recommendations for areas where it felt money could be made or saved.

One of the ideas put forward was that the Fire Service could look at charging for non-emergency calls.

The report said that charges are generally based on an hourly rate and vary from £455 down to an average rate of £246 depending on the appliance and crew size involved.

Chief officer Jon Le Page said that, during its preparation, the report's authors asked the service how many non-emergency calls it had responded to over the last few years.

'We provided that data and they have looked at the ability to charge for non-emergency responses and the number of times we've been to such a job and then they've come up with a figure we could make if we started charging people,' he said.

But Mr Le Page said the idea had been looked at previously, and as part of that the service had investigated how fire services in the UK and Jersey operated when it came to charging.

It was discovered that while many services have a published list of services for which they could charge, it was very rare that they issued an invoice.

'I'm a bit concerned that PwC say Jersey and the UK charge, where from our research they don't,' he said.

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