Fire governance takeover will ‘prevent savings being diverted to councils’

A police and crime commissioner (PCC) is the second to submit proposals to become a police, fire and crime commissioner in England, despite a number of concerns raised during consultation.

Aug 22, 2017

A police and crime commissioner (PCC) is the second to submit proposals to become a police, fire and crime commissioner in England, despite a number of concerns raised during consultation. Following an eight-week public consultation, Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd has decided to send his proposal to the Home Office. In his letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Mr Lloyd said he wants to see the fire and police service working more closely together. “I think bringing fire and rescue under the same governance structure as the police service will deliver a better service to the public, as all efficiencies will be reinvested in community safety whereas currently they are diverted to supplement other council services.” During consultation, the Hertfordshire Fire Brigade Union outlined a number of concerns about the proposal. It said the only example of collaboration between the two services seems to be for firefighters to undertake non-warranted police activities, such as work with vulnerable people, and concluded that the prospect of joining the two services was proposed to enable the “propping-up of an under-staffed and under-funded police service”. Hertfordshire County Council objected to the proposed transfer of governance, as it said the benefits claimed are “not supported by evidence of their achievability”, and it would incur “significant implantation costs”. It added that Hertfordshire residents already benefit from the collaboration that exists between the fire service and other public services, and the proposal could disrupt what the council is already doing to deliver service improvements. Mr Lloyd said: “The business case sets out a wide range of positive changes which can help to improve public safety and ensure that what is raised for our fire service is spent on our fire service.” “I think that the prospect of driving further collaboration between the emergency services is greatly improved if police and fire share the same governance structure.” In July, Essex PCC Roger Hirst’s proposal to become the first police, fire and crime commissioner was approved by the Home Office. He will begin his new role in October.

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