- Should Police and Crime Commissioners be given control of fire services?
- The question will be debated at a police leaders’ summit in London
- Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl will share the stage with Cabinet ministers
- “It was never my ambition to take over the fire service but it is equally clear the Prime Minister has it in mind to introduce radical change” said Mr. Surl.
The future of the fire service and whether it should come under the jurisdiction of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will come under the spotlight at a police leaders’ conference at the Queen Elizabeth ll Centre in Westminster this week. (November 16-17).
Emergency services collaboration is on the agenda at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Partnership Summit along with police reform and other topics around buildings and digital opportunities.
The event will be opened by the Home Secretary Amber Rudge. Leading the debate on fire service reform will be Gloucestershire’s PCC Martin Surl, Policing and Fire Service Minister Brandon Lewis and Chairman of the Chief Fire Officers Association Roy Wilsher.
As home secretary, the Prime Minister Theresa May signaled her intention to give PCCs responsibility for fire services to bring ‘greater accountability’. The Policing and Crime Bill, which contains the detail, is currently making its way through Parliament.
Mr. Surl, who will express a commissioner’s view on the proposals said: “It was never my ambition to take over the fire service but it is equally clear the Prime Minister has it in mind to introduce radical change.
“Part of her reasoning is to improve accountability and introduce more transparency. If the County Council wants to retain control of the fire service in Gloucestershire, it must demonstrate it is in the best interests of the public, the fire service and the police to do so. Up to now they have declined to show me the books or even discuss the future which is not the way to keep the status quo.
“I have the greatest respect for the fire and rescue service which already plays a significant role in my Police and Crime Plan in road safety and my aim is to get the best result for Gloucestershire”.
This will be the second annual conference of senior leaders and experts from across UK law enforcement, criminal justice and government to discuss and shape solutions to the key questions of the day.
Demand on policing never stays the same and the environment in which they operate is more complex and dynamic than ever.