DORSET residents are being asked their views on plans for the future of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.

Between now and 20 October, people will be able to have their say through a consultation process. Options for the future include: closer working with local authorities and the police through to a possible merge with Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority.

A parallel consultation is being held in Wiltshire during the same time period. In both counties, local residents will be able to access further information and complete an on-line questionnaire.

In addition, a random selection of 12,000 households across Dorset and Wiltshire will receive the questionnaire directly. Information will also be placed in public buildings and libraries, and consultation forums will be held with the public, businesses and the voluntary organisations.

Darran Gunter, Chief Fire Officer of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: “Dorset Fire and Rescue Service delivers essential life changing and lifesaving services. Whilst we face a challenging financial future, we are keen to encourage people to contribute to our consultation exercise.

“We want to ensure we explore every possibility to transform our service but also help protect our essential frontline activities. “We have a number of potential options, key to which is whether we become a larger fire and rescue service and how much further we work with our local councils.”

Rebecca Knox, Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority said: "We have a wonderful fire and rescue service in Dorset.

“Dorset Fire Authority really wants to protect the excellent professionalism and high standards which our staff set and deliver for all residents in your communities. “We would like your views on how the authority should continue to strengthen prevention and safety, emergency protection, but at the same time, like many other authorities, do this with less financial budget.”

The consultation can be viewed here.