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Amber Rudd urged to explain takeover of fire authority by PCC John Campion

By Mat Growcott | Politics | Published:

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is being challenged to explain why she is allowing a takeover of the fire authority by police boss John Campion.

Amber Rudd

The head of Shropshire's Fire Service said a mismatch between independent and government reports into the proposals was a "real concern".

Councillor Eric Carter has written to Ms Rudd demanding answers amid the possibility of a legal challenge.

Mr Campion, the police and crime commissioner, has been given the go-ahead to take control of Shropshire Fire Service.

The commissioner said his plans for both police and fire services to be governed by him would save £4 million.

But Councillor Carter says he is unhappy with the decision, and today challenged Ms Rudd: "If you've got evidence, let us see it."

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy says there is 'no overwhelming case' for Mr Campion to become head of the fire service – while government departmental analysis said "clear savings could be made".

Knowledge

Councillor Carter added: "It is right and proper that we get a better knowledge of what basis the decision was made on. Amber Rudd is busy with things at the moment, things she might think are more important, but for the local people of Shropshire this is a decision which will have long term effects legally.

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"We're hoping she sees sense even at this late stage and changes her mind."

Councillor Carter was among a number of others, including representatives of Staffordshire and Hereford and Worcester fire authorities, to meet for legal advice in London last week.

He said: "The barrister said we needed evidence, and if they are honest with this we'll see it in the next week or two and make a judgement of what we do next.

"They said that the Shropshire fire proposals were the weakest of any of the organisations in terms of business case put forward."

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Mr Campion said that putting him in charge of governance of the fire service would deliver the “best results” for the people of Shropshire.

But both Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council voted to oppose the plans.

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.

Councillor Carter said the proposals were "riding roughshod" over local representation. He added: "All the councils have been consulted and are against the proposals, as are all the town and parish councils. The biggest issue is that the police and crime commissioner has got no public support.

"This to me is riding roughshod over local representation. Local people will have no councillors representing them on the fire panel. It will all be down to just one man."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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