SAFETY on the River Clyde will be at risk with plans to reduce the fire and rescue cover on the water, according to firefighters.

Firefighters at Polmadie, which currently has a dedicated boat crew, have raised the fears with a city MSP.

Staff are worried that cover on the river will be reduced and crews will not be available to respond to an incident as quickly as they do now, putting lives at risk.

A firefighter at the station said last year 22 people were rescued from the river by the dedicated boat crew.

Paul Sweeney, Glasgow Labour MSP, raised the matter with Humza Yousaf at First Minister’s Questions.

He said the changes mean there will be only one crew covering both the fire engine and the boat.

Sweeney was told by a firefighter: “Essentially this means that 15 positions will be lost from the station.

“The River Clyde, rather than having 24-hour dedicated boat cover, will then only have one crew at Polmadie responding to all types of rescues, including fires and water rescue incidents on the River Clyde simultaneously.”

Firefighters are concerned that if both Polmadie and Knightswood appliances (which currently crew a second boat) are at fire calls then there would be no cover on the River Clyde whatsoever.

The firefighter added: “Given that we have seen an increase through the years in the number of water rescues we attend, coupled with the fact we are currently facing a mental health crisis throughout society, we at Polmadie find it astonishing that SFRS has opted to reduce such a valuable asset to our city.”

The First Minister said he would look at the issue in “more detail”.

Yousaf said, while it is an operational matter for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, “safety is of the highest priority”.

He said: “We remain supportive of reform. It is right SFRS continues to review and deliver value for money.

“Safety is of the highest priority.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue has been contacted for comment.