Police hostile takeover of fire service opposed


‘THERE’S no support for it among firefighters and there’s no support for it among police officers, there’s no support among local communities and yet the government seems to be intent on forcing it through,’ Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said yesterday opposing the takeover of Fire Authorities by Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

He further accused ‘one or two’ PCCs of supporting the plan of ‘empire building’.

The issue will be discussed today in the House of Lords, where peers will debate the extremely controversial decision, on November 15, by the Tory government to agree the takeover of North Yorkshire Fire Authority by the PCC.

The Tories want to roll-out the takeover of Fire Authorities by PCCs nationally. In North Yorkshire these proposals led to the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner spending more than £140,000 on consultants to prepare a business case.

The ‘motion of regret’ has been moved by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Kath Pinnock.

Before the debate, Baroness Angela Harris, a former Chair of North Yorkshire Police Authority, commented: ‘Many are alarmed by the PCC’s intentions to assume responsibility for both the Police and Fire Service in North Yorkshire – the largest rural single county in England – leaving York and North Yorkshire without a Fire and Rescue Authority … ‘… A takeover in this circumstance is ideologically driven, needless and risks seriously undermining an already effective fire service.’

Councillor Keith Aspden, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at City of York Council and Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association Fire Services Management Committee, added: ‘Our communities and local authorities have already expressed serious concerns that the proposals could severely impact on the fire services’ capacity to serve residents across our local area.’