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West Yorkshire sees sharp drop in firefighter numbers

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West Yorkshire has experienced of the sharpest drops in firefighter numbers in England since the Grenfell Tower disaster five years ago according to government figures.

There was a combined total of 1,106 full-time firefighters, on-call firefighters and control staff at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at the end of March 2021, the latest available Home Office figures show. That was down by 61 (5.2%) from 1,167 four years earlier, which was the last workforce count before the Grenfell fire on June 14 2017.

It is one of more than 20 areas across England to see the number of firefighters and control room staff dip since the tragic fire at the London tower block on June 14, 2017, which took the lives of 72 people.

It means West Yorkshire saw the joint ninth-biggest drop of any of the 44 fire and rescue services across the country over that time. In comparison, London Fire Brigade saw the figure rise by 45, from 4,799 to 4,844.

The fall was driven by the declining number of full-time firefighters, offset slightly by the rising number of on-call firefighters and control staff, who answer 999 calls.