Police commissioner reluctant to take on powers from fire and rescue services

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 The Prime Minister announced radical proposals to transform the way police, fire and ambulance services work together, including enabling police and crime commissioners to take on the duties and responsibilities for fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) if there is a local demand for it.

The measures in the Government consultation paper also include the introduction of a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Where crime commissioner do take on the role of FRAs, they would become the single employer for police and fire staff, to enable easier sharing of back office functions and streamline management.

The proposals would also allow Chief Fire Officers to be appointed as Chief Constables, despite having no prior police experience.

Improved working practices between PCCs and ambulance services are also proposed, with the suggestion that NHS ambulance foundation trusts should consider PCC representation on their board of governors.

Ron Ball said: “While I welcome any proposals which encourage closer working between the blue light emergency services, I do not have any desire to assume responsibility for fire and rescue services within the county.

“We have a good relationship with Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and already co-operate on a number of initiatives, but I am not convinced that there would be a significant business case or local desire for a merged police and fire service.

“Warwickshire Police has been at the forefront of police collaboration nationally thanks to the alliance with West Mercia Police and together we are already pursuing options for wider collaboration, for example through the management of our property portfolio through the public sector company Place Partnership.  I will continue to pursue other options where there are benefits to working together but I do not believe there is a strong business case for taking responsibility for the fire service locally.  Equally, I find it extremely difficult to see how a Chief Fire Officer could take over as a police Chief Constable or vice versa.”