Police and crime commissioner gets go-ahead to take over Shropshire fire service
Controversial plans for West Mercia's police and crime commissioner to take control of the fire service have today been approved by the government.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd approved joint governance proposals put forward by West Mercia's PCC John Campion.
In the coming months, the PCC will also be responsible for governing Shropshire Fire and Rescue Services, as well as Hereford and Worcester, replacing their respective fire authorities.
Mr Campion said the move would improve collaboration and services to the public.
“This represents a real opportunity to build safer communities, which are served by more effective, efficient emergency services," he said.
"The improvements I aim to deliver have been clear and consistent throughout this process and I will work tirelessly to make sure ‘potential’ benefits on paper, become realities."
Mr Campion said the changes would allow funds to be directed towards frontline services.
“Our fire authorities have laid good foundations to build from, for which we are all grateful," he said.
"However, the change to single governance will enable new ways of working that will benefit our communities and our emergency services alike.
“It will ensure our services are sharing their resources, knowledge and expertise where it makes sense to do so. It will deliver a more efficient use of public money, and it will make sure more of that money is directed where it should be – towards the frontline services that we all value so much.”
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: “It's great to see police and crime commissioners identifying opportunities to drive greater collaboration between police and fire – there is a real opportunity to improve the services provided to local people.
"The proposals will encourage joint working, sharing of best practice and innovative thinking.
“Having a directly accountable leader overseeing both policing and fire will also help maximise available resources and drive transformation across both services. I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to the local areas.”
Both Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council voted against the plans.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue's fire authority also vowed to fight the proposals.
Currently, fire and rescue services are overseen by authorities made up of councillors from across the region.
The government has said it wants to see a more joined-up approach in the way police and fire services work together.