Should Cambridgeshire’s police and crime commissioner take on the joint role for the county’s fire service - have your say now

Consultation is underway to decide whether or not Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite takes on the joint role for the county's fire service.
Consultation is underway to decide whether or not Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite takes on the joint role for the county's fire service.

People are being urged to have their say on whether or not Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) also takes on the role for the fire service.

Consultation is currently underway with a recommendation that Jason Ablewhite, who is the current PCC becomes the police, fire and crime commissioner (PFCC) with overall governance for both the police and fire services in Cambridgeshire.

It is estimated the move will save around £1.69 million over 10 years through savings in fire authority members allowances and sharing of a chief financial officer post.

Savings are also expected to be made through better use of the fire and police estates. It is anticipated this will initially require investment but is expected to provide financial benefits of £4.34 million over 10 years.

Operational responsibility for fire and police would remain with the chief fire officer and the chief constable but the PFCC would continue to set policing priorities through the police and crime plan and would control police assets.

He would perform the same role for the fire service and would become the employer for all fire and rescue staff, the chief constable employs police officers and staff.

The PFCC would also be responsible for such things as decisions on how the fire and rescue service spends its budget and whether new fire service facilities should be built or shared with other emergency services.

It is hoped the move would increase public accountability through a directly elected police, fire and crime commissioner - the post is up for election every four years.

The move comes as a result of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which introduced measures that placed a statutory obligation on all emergency services to collaborate and enable PCCs to take on responsibilities for fire and rescue services in their area.

Explaining the move on the PCC’s website a report says there were four options considered for Cambridgeshire in a Local Business Case prepared by independent consultants, who were commissioned jointly by the fire authority and the office of the police and crime commissioner.

The options considered were: No change, representation, governance, and single employer.

The governance option - the process for making and implementing decisions - was considered to offer the greatest benefits.

Residents are asked to have their say via a short online survey at www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/fire or write to: Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, PO Box 688, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 9LA or email us at: Cambs-pcc@cambs.pnn.police.uk

The consultation closes on September 4.