Brandon Lewis, the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service at the Home Office, has awarded £1 million from the Police Transformation Fund to nine Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for their work in developing proposals to take on the additional responsibility for the governance of fire and rescue in their area.
The proposals are expected to bring about a fundamental shift to the way in which police and fire services work together, including sharing estates or back office functions. The news follows a police-led process which saw funding recommendations made by the Police Reform and Transformation Board.
The PCCs who will receive funds are those in Sussex, West Mercia, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and North Yorkshire.
“Further collaboration between the two services presents a real opportunity to increase their efficiency and effectiveness,” stated Lewis, “and that’s good for the public as whole. PCCs taking on responsibility for Fire and Rescue Services will lead to the same level of public accountability for both. I’m pleased to support those PCCs who are developing proposals to take on the governance of local Fire and Rescue Services.”
The new provisions in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 enable PCCs to take on responsibility for the governance of local Fire and Rescue Services where a local case is made for doing so. It brings the same direct accountability to fire as is already in place with policing and allows PCCs to drive reform, maximise the benefits of collaboration and ensure that Best Practice is shared.
Several PCCs are developing proposals to take on governance of local Fire and Rescue Services as the earliest adopters of the new governance provisions. Further PCCs are expected to bring forward proposals soon. The funding award will ensure that the work and knowledge gained is properly disseminated among the policing community.
Set up as part of the Government’s Spending Review in 2015, the Police Transformation Fund (which is police-led through the Police Reform and Transformation Board) is designed to allocate extra investment to continue the job of reform and shape policing for the future. PCCs and chief constable representatives sit on the Board alongside senior leaders in policing, with the final decisions on bids made by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.