Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that three more Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are now set to take on responsibility for local Fire and Rescue Services, becoming Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners for their respective areas. The PCCs involved are John Campion (PCC for West Mercia), Matthew Ellis (PCC for Staffordshire) and Jason Ablewhite (PCC for Cambridgeshire).
This announcement from Government builds on the provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which introduced measures enabling PCCs to submit a proposal to the Home Secretary to take on governance of a Fire and Rescue Authority where a local case was made for doing so.
These PCCs will join Roger Hirst of Essex, who became the country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in October last year.
In their proposals, each PCC has identified a number of collaborative opportunities through the new governance structure. These include shared estate and back office functions and closer alignment on prevention and resource deployment.
Before submitting their proposal, each PCC was required to undertake a local consultation, duly considering the views of relevant local stakeholders. As the relevant local authorities in each PCC’s area did not support the transfer of governance, the Home Secretary commissioned independent assessments of each proposal last November.
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) carried out each independent assessment. CIFPA has substantial public finance expertise and works closely with the police and Fire and Rescue Services and was therefore well placed to carry out these assessments.
As this process must be independent of Government, it was for CIPFA to determine the conduct of its assessments and to provide the Home Secretary with its opinion as to whether the statutory tests set out in the Act had been met. In doing so, CIPFA sought the views of the local police force, the local Fire and Rescue Service and local authorities.
The Home Secretary carefully considered the contents of the proposals, consultation materials, the views and representations made by statutory consultees and the PCC responses to them. Together with the independent assessment, the Home Secretary was satisfied the proposals demonstrated that a transfer of governance would be in the interests of the local economy, efficiency and effectiveness, without having an adverse effect upon public safety.
In the interests of transparency, and in line with the provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, each independent assessment has been published for public consumption.
Home Office launches anti-knife crime campaign
The Home Office has launched a new advertising campaign to reduce knife crime among young people. By using real-life stories of young people who made the decision not to carry knives, the #knifefree campaign aims to highlight the consequences of carrying a knife and inspire young people to pursue positive alternatives.
The campaign forms part of the Government’s forthcoming Serious Violence Strategy, which will set out actions designed to tackle serious violence by placing a new emphasis on steering young people away from crime while continuing to promote the strongest possible law enforcement approach.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd explained: “The emotional stories at the heart of the new Knife Free campaign bring home in powerful fashion just what a far-reaching impact it can have on a young person’s life if they make the misguided decision to carry a knife. I hope that any young person who’s seriously thinking about carrying a knife listens to what the implications can be and realises what options are available if they choose to live knife-free.”
Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, added: “This powerful new campaign will highlight the tragic consequences of carrying a knife and challenge the idea that young people are safer if they do carry one.”
The £1.35 million campaign will use advertising on social media (ie Snapchat and Twitter) and digital channels (such as TV on Demand and Spotify) to target ten to 21 year-olds who use these platforms. A poster campaign will also be displayed in those English cities where knife crime is currently more prevalent.