Hertfordshire’s fire service could come under the control of the county’s policing boss, under proposals revealed this week by the police and crime commissioner.
David Lloyd claims that having joint control of the police and fire services would allow both forces to make savings, while also protecting the current budget.
He said: “I want the public to be able to influence how all our emergency services operate, setting the budget, and key priorities for our county’s safety. I think bringing fire under the same governance as the police will deliver a better service.”
Jamie Wyatt, spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union eastern region, was less convinced.
He said: “Combining the police and fire service, even if only at this level, can cause confusion for the public.
“For example, people allow us into their homes to give fire safety advice when they might not allow the police access, and at a car crash we aren’t interested in who’s to blame.
“Creating confusion could make our jobs harder.”
He added: “It’s also hard to understand the argument about accountability. At the moment, if we disagree with a proposal we can lobby individual councillors to try and convince them, whereas with a single person it can be much harder to change their mind.
“And in Hertforshire the county council runs the fire service, so there are already economies of scale.”
To read the full business case, comment or ask questions, visit www.hertscommissioner.org/fire