Campion fire plan given Government green light - The Evesham Observer

Campion fire plan given Government green light

Evesham Editorial 28th Mar, 2018 Updated: 28th Mar, 2018   0

CONTROVERSIAL proposals which will see West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissoner take over the running of the county’s fire service have been been given the green light by the Government.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has rubber stamped John Campion’s plan to axe both the Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and its sister group in Shropshire and bring their functions under his remit in a bid to save £4million a year.

Mr Campion will assume the role of Commissioner for Police, Fire and Crime, holding the Chief Fire Officers for both forces to account, while West Mercia Police and the two fire and rescue services will remain separate, individual organisations.

The commissioner said his proposals for a single governance body would improve local police and fire collaboration and efficiency but his plans attracted a storm of criticism from county councillors and fire chiefs especiallly in Shropshire who claim they had already identified £2million of savings in the next financial year.




“This represents a real opportunity to build safer communities, which are served by more effective, efficient emergency services,” Mr Campion 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.”


“Our Fire Authorities have laid good foundations to build from, for which we are all grateful. 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.”

Policing and the Fire Service Minister 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.”

CURRENT chairman of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority Coun Roger Phillips expressed his disappointment at the Home Secretary’s decision but pledged to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure a smooth transition period.

The fire chief said he expected a handover to take place in the summer but said the controversial move would only add to the feeling of uncertainty for staff across the area.

“The communities of both Herefordshire and Worcestershire enjoy great levels of service from their Fire and Rescue Service, it is our job now to ensure these standards are maintained,” he said.

“We will work with the PCC to ensure our principles of adding value to local communities, delivering on collaboration where it is make sense to do so, and our determined focus on efficiency and effectiveness are all continued and, where possible, enhanced as we prepare to hand over governance.”

The service already has a number of key collaboration projects it is undertaking with both West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, such as the move of HWFRS headquarters to the police headquarters at Hindlip Hall later this year, the projects will be unaffected by the move.

“We are working with the PCC to make sure any future changes to the way people work are well-thought through, are designed to maintain or improve the current levels of service performance and support, are sustainable in the long-term and are developed in full consultation with any affected staff groups.”

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham backed the proposals but senior Labour figures at County Hall have called on Worcestershire County Council to reaffirm its cross-party opposition to the plan and press for a judicial review.

Worcestershire county councillors unanimously rejected Mr Campion’s proposals during the consulation process and said the move would not be in the interest of improving public safety or the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

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