23rd Oct, 2017

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner submitting business case to the Government for his plan to take control of the fire service

WEST Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner is pressing ahead with his controversial proposals to take control of Worcestershire’s fire service.

John Campion is submitting a full business case to the Government around taking on the governance of Hereford and Worcester and Shropshire Fire Services.

Under his proposals, which Mr Campion claims will save taxpayers £4million a year, the fire and rescue authorities would be disbanded and Mr Campion would assume the new role of Commissioner for Police, Fire and Crime.

The commissioner has said his proposals for a single governance body will improve local police and fire collaboration, efficiency the services residents receive.

The new role would see the commissioner responsible for holding Chief Fire Officers to account.

West Mercia Police and the two fire and rescue services would remain separate, individual organisations under the plans.

Locally, the Police Commissioner’s plans have been met by some opposition.

Last month, Worcestershire County Councillors unanimously backed a motion stating the proposals would not be in the interests of improving public safety or the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

However, a three month consultation was carried on the proposals which found 61 per cent of the 1,300 people who took part backed the new governance arrangements.

As a result, Mr Campion is now finalising his business case for the proposals which he will then submit to the Home Office. It will be minister who will ultimately decide whether any changes to governance go ahead.

Mr Campion said: “I promised I would listen to, and be guided by, our communities and that is what I am doing.

“If there is credible evidence that a change in governance would cost less, achieve more and has public backing, I cannot just ignore that. For those reasons I felt it was right to further develop these proposals, create a full business case and put it to government for their consideration.

“I recognise that some people had raised concerns during the consultation, but I am confident those concerns have been addressed in the full business case.

“Enhanced collaboration between our emergency services must now be delivered to increase public safety.”

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