Shropshire police chief pressing ahead with fire service takeover plans
West Mercia's police and crime commissioner is pushing ahead with plans to take over control of Shropshire's fire service, it has been revealed today.
John Campion is submitting a full business case to the government around taking on the governance of local fire services.
Mr Campion has said that he believes he can improve the service and make £4 million of savings across the two fire authorities and West Mercia Police if he is granted permission to take on the post as commissioner.
But Telford & Wrekin Council, Shropshire Council and Worcester City Council, along with Shropshire's Fire Authority and firefighter's unions have raised concerns over the plans.
Once the full business case has been submitted, a decision will be made by the Home Office as to whether the plans should go ahead.
In an initial business case published in June, independent experts recommended that the commissioner should provide governance for the two local fire and rescue services.
In the full business case, Mr Campion says it verifies that a single governance body would give the best opportunity to improve local police and fire collaboration, efficiency, and ultimately, the services delivered to local communities.
A three month consultation received over 1,300 responses, 61 per cent of which supported the proposals.
The figures showed that 67 per cent of people who backed the plans said that financial considerations were the reason.
Since that was released, the commissioner has been analysing the data to decide whether it would beneficial to progress.
Having reviewed all the feedback from that consultation, the commissioner decided to move forward with a full business case.
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.”
A full business case, taking on board consultation feedback, is now being finalised and will be submitted to the Home Office, who will ultimately decide whether any changes to governance go ahead.