HEREFORD and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has been assessed as ‘good’ at providing effective emergency response, prevention and protection services.

That's the conclusion of the report on the first inspection of the service by the newly formed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

The report identified areas of good practice such as the investment in operational training and equipment, together with collaborative working with police, including the extensive sharing of buildings.

In particular, the service’s multi-agency enforcement work with the police, trading standards, revenue and customs, environmental health, housing, immigration services, and the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority, was seen as notable practice.

But inspectors say the service needs to think about how it can most efficiently balance its limited resources to meet all the needs of local communities.

Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis said: “We welcome the report and we are reassured that it aligns very much with our own self-assessment of the Service and the areas that we have already prioritised for improvement.

“We are extremely proud of what our staff have achieved to date under difficult circumstances, and the high quality services they already provide. We are committed to maintaining and developing these services still further.

“After spending the last eight years managing the organisation on an ever-decreasing real-terms budget – with around 20 per cent less spending power today than in 2010 and a third less people – we have had to make some tough decisions about where our remaining resources are best employed.”

Fire authority chairman Roger Phillips said: “This report is a great benchmark on which to measure the performance of the service and to help the fire authority scrutinise the service’s improvement plans over the coming months and years."