Public backs PCC’s single governance plans for fire service

West Mercia police and crime commissioner (PCC) John Campion’s plans to take over the governance of his fire and rescue service have been backed by the public.

Sep 20, 2017

West Mercia police and crime commissioner (PCC) John Campion’s plans to take over the governance of his fire and rescue service have been backed by the public. Mr Campion has proposed the scrapping of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority to bring their functions under his control, which he says will save the police and fire service around £4 million a year. Following a three-month public consultation that received more than 1,300 responses, 61 per cent said they supported the idea. Mr Campion said: “My focus throughout this process has been on building a safer West Mercia and delivering the best services for our communities. “I have engaged with thousands of people on this subject over the last few months in a number of different ways and I am grateful to everyone who took part in the consultation. “Their message is clear: Our communities expect their emergency services to collaborate properly in order to improve services and they want resources prioritised towards vital frontline officers and equipment. “I have always said I was open minded about this subject and would be guided by our communities. I will listen to their views in determining what happens next, as well as taking on feedback from other stakeholders.” However, during a meeting on September 14, Worcestershire County Council unanimously approved a response to Mr Campion, saying the proposed plans would not improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the fire service. Councillor Paul Middlesborough insisted the decision was not “party political”, adding that if the previous PCC made a similar proposal “it would have met with similar opposition”. He added: “We want to see fire safety improved but we think there are much better ways of doing that.” Councillor Andy Fry said the business case put forward by Mr Campion was “poor, with gaps, holes and lack of detail”. “We should keep the fire authority together, working with Shropshire, working with Telford and Wrekin and not being messed into the hole which the police and crime commissioner is becoming,” he added. “That is a job and a half without devaluing the fire authority.”

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