Joint Police and Fire Governance Business Case Released
Initial draft proposals for a move which would bring together Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service under joint governance have been released.
The draft business case assesses the scale of opportunity for closer working between both organisations and how a joint Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner could improve provision of services and use public money better.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex Roger Hirst, said: “I have been very open about my desire for closer working between Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and I believe there are great benefits from having joint governance of both bodies.
“There are opportunities for the services to work together to help the vulnerable and keep people safe, for instance by improving the way we respond to the public both online and on the phone, providing joint crime and fire prevention advice, looking at opportunities for joint attendance at incidents, sharing buildings and support functions, looking at whether there would be benefits in a joint contact centre and joint IT provision, and finding ways to realise greater efficiency savings and release funds for reinvestment.
“Both Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service do a great job at protecting residents of Essex, making them safer and coming to their aid when they are in trouble. But there are opportunities to work smarter and to do more things together which I feel is in the interests of the public of Essex for us to explore.
“These proposals are very much the initial scene setting for a possible change in how the services could work under a single governance structure. There are many months of work ahead before any changes could be implemented.
“I am very clear that both services would continue to have distinct separate identities and be operationally managed by officers from their own area of expertise.
“This is not just about making financial savings. I believe the oversight by a joint commissioner would improve the provision of services while also saving money to reinvest back in to both organisations. A directly elected commissioner would be accountable to the public for the delivery of both police and fire services in the county.”
Councillor Anthony Hedley, Chairman of Essex Fire Authority, said: “Essex Fire Authority has supported the development of a draft local business case, prepared by the Police and Crime Commissioner, to explore joint governance of police and fire services in Essex.
“The business case will be presented and discussed with members at the upcoming Fire Authority meeting on Wednesday, December 7 .”
Public consultation on the proposal is a key part of the PCC’s plans surrounding the case for joint governance. However, this cannot start until after the Policing and Crime Bill completes its parliamentary passage and receives royal assent. This is expected to be in early 2017.