Hertfordshire PCC will only pursue control of fire service if ‘mandated’

Mr Lloyd raised the issue of fire service governance at the first meeting of the new public health and community safety cabinet panel

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:08 am

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has told councillors he will now only pursue control of the Fire Service if ‘mandated’ to do so by the government.

Mr Lloyd submitted a controversial bid to take over the control of the Fire Service from Hertfordshire County Council four years ago.

At the time he argued that bringing the two emergency services together would cut costs, enable better joint working and improve public safety

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd

But he ‘suspended’ his application in 2018, after signing a formal agreement with the county council to look at ways the police and the fire service could work together.

On Friday, June 11, Mr Lloyd raised the issue of fire service governance at the first meeting of the new public health and community safety cabinet panel.

And in doing so he put the ball firmly in the government’s court – by suggesting that he would only pursue change if ‘mandated’ to do so.

He said that without change nationally the county council and the police would continue to collaborate – pointing to initiatives such as joint control rooms, a joint headquarters and joint training, as well as looking for opportunities to share police and fire stations.

And he said that if the government were just to suggest change, he would not look to go through the process again.

“If government says it really would be nice for there to be a police, fire and crime commissioner in Hertfordshire – which is broadly still where they are at – I will say that ‘well actually nothing has changed,” he said.

“‘I think our own way of working is a positive way of working. And I am not going to go through a whole business case to try to change government. I think what we are doing works well.'”

But he said that should the government direct the change he would look to implement it as quickly as possible.

“If government says, you are mandated, you have to change governance, then we will get on and change governance across to police and fire commissioner as soon as we can,” he said.

“And we’ll just get on with it in the way that Hertfordshire is good at getting on with it.”

Executive member for public health and community safety Cllr Morris Bright asked the commissioner if his view had been sought by government.

And Mr Lloyd said he had made it clear that ‘if they want to change the governance they have to tell us that they want the governance changed’.

Cllr Bright then pressed the commissioner on whether he had also said he would prefer it to stay as it was.

“I haven’t said whether it’s better or worse,” said Mr Lloyd.

“I think it’s for them to decide what they want to do – but they do have to tell us what that is going to be.

“If they don’t, I think it’s very difficult to get local agreement because clearly there’s a history of where it currently sits. If they want change, they have got to mandate it.”