Commissioner Could Run Police And Fire?

9 December 2016, 06:00

Jason Ablewhite PCC for Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (pictured), Jason Ablewhite and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority have agreed to work together to develop a business case to determine the most appropriate future governance model for police and fire.

The government is taking forward new legislation through the Policing and Crime Bill with the intention of enabling closer working between emergency services.  The new legislation will introduce a duty to collaborate on all three emergency services in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.  The legislation will enable one of three options to be pursued:

  • For Police and Crime Commissioners to become responsible for fire and rescue services, where a local case is made
  • For Police and Crime Commissioners to create a single employer for police and fire service staff, where a local case is made
  • For Police and Crime Commissioners to have representation on their local fire and rescue service Fire Authority with voting rights, where the fire and rescue authority agrees

While the Bill is passing through parliament, early discussions have been started between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Fire Authority to explore the best way to take forward the opportunities arising from the Bill. 

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, said:

"I am delighted to be working with the Fire Authority to identify the opportunities and benefits that could be made through greater collaboration.  Whilst the police, fire and ambulance already work closely together I believe there is more that could be done to ensure the front line of the services can be protected through greater collaboration that also represents best value for the taxpayer."

Sir Peter Brown, Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, said:

"Our meeting was extremely positive and we look forward to implementing the new legislation in a manner which meets our local needs and concerns. Our local fire service is held in the highest regard by members of the public and it is important that its role continues to provide residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with a trusted and respected service. We would hope that the Fire Authority will be able to continue its good work in providing a public link with the service in the future."

In addition to the governance discussions, a joint working board has been established at an operational level with senior representation from police, fire and ambulance services to look at the areas where collaboration makes sense. A number of areas have been prioritised to investigate further such as specialist equipment and skills, training, estates and managing vulnerable people.