Poll: Putting PCCs in charge of fire services should be seriously considered - what do you think?

Policing minister Damian Green at Martlesham Police HQ.

Policing minister Damian Green at Martlesham Police HQ. - Credit: Archant

A law change to put elected crime tsars in charge of county fire services to reform and make them more accountable should be “seriously considered”, the policing minister has claimed.

Damian Green said yesterday that there should be “much more” working together between the police and other emergency services, but went further in suggesting the new police and crime commissioners (PCCs) should be made responsible.

Police forces in Suffolk and Norfolk have already merged HR departments, dog sections, firearms units, roads policing and their communication teams, with more civilian jobs at risk this week amid further collaboration.

And Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore is in talks with Suffolk County Council over greater collaboration with the fire service, and has not ruled out merging with the ambulance service too. However the law would need to be changed if an elected PCC was to take on responsibility for other services.

The idea of putting PCCs in charge of fire services was raised by Sir Ken Knight, the outgoing Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor, in his review published earlier this year.

He said they “could clarify accountability arrangements and ensure more direct visibility to the electorate”.

Mr Green said: “If we are to truly increase local accountability and deliver the much needed reform of fire services, as we have done in policing, this is something we need to consider seriously.”

Most Read

He added: “The government response to the Knight Review will set out our direction, but I want to be clear now that we want to work with PCCs, fire authorities and all the emergency services to build on what is already happening and to drive this forward by removing barriers and unlocking opportunities.

“Many PCCs are looking not just to reform and make savings by collaboration with other forces, but also with other emergency services. We want to see more of this, much more.”

Suffolk has already been given money from the Department for Communities and Local Government to help explore greater collaboration.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter