Northants police and fire merger moves a step closer

Police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold
Police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold

The countdown to the transfer of oversight of the county's fire service to the police commissioner has formally begun.

A Statutory Instrument has been laid before Parliament today (October 12) that sets the framework for the transfer of the oversight of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service from Northamptonshire County Council to Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.

The statutory instrument starts the countdown for oversight to move to the commissioner from January 1, 2019.

The move, which also brings with it a £3,000 pay rise for the commissioner to reflect the extra responsibility the post is taking on, means the police, fire and crime commissioner can now be held to account for the performance of the fire and rescue service.

The commissioner will hold the chief fire officer to account in the same way he does the chief constable.

From January, the PFCC will work with the chief officers of both services to look at how they can collaborate, where it is in the public and their interests to do so, and work together to improve the frontline services.

The day-to-day business of the fire service will carry on as it is now, with its own chief officers, uniform and operational independence.

Combining the oversight of both the fire service and Northamptonshire Police will also create opportunities to share resources and buildings and to increase joint working in other ways.

Mr Mold said: “This move will give Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service much-needed stability so that it can plan for the future, make the very best use of resources and invest in improvements that will help to provide most effective and efficient emergency service it can be.

“I am excited by the possibility of enhancing the effectiveness of both organisations through working more closely together and in being able to give the Fire Service the stable home it needs so that it can invest and plan its development for the future.

Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This transfer gives Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service a stable platform from which we can start to invest in the service and put in place plans for the next 20 years.

“Making Northamptonshire safer is our top priority and this certainty gives us the freedom to develop a vision of a modern, effective fire service that understands the needs of the communities we serve.”

Cllr Ian Morris, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for transport, highways, environment and public protection, said: “We have proudly supported and invested into our county fire and rescue service and now have one of the UK’s leading services.

“We have supported the bid to bring Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service under the governance of the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner as it enables our local emergency services to further build on the blue light integration we’ve been working on since 2013.

“As a local authority, we look forward to continuing to work with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service through our trading standards department, public health and other areas of joint working.”