Union criticises Northamptonshire police commissioner’s blue-light plans

PCC Adam Simmonds
PCC Adam Simmonds

Police commissioner Adam Simmonds’s plans for closer collaboration between police and fire services in the county has been criticised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

A report published this week by the FBU into the future of fire and rescue services across the UK has opposed the idea of any police commissioner (PCC) taking over the running of fire services in addition to the police.

And the Northamptonshire PCC has been singled out as one of the strongest supporters of further integration between the services.

The report, entitled Sounding the alarm: the future of our fire and rescue service, illustrates what it calls a range of threats from Home Office funding for blue-light collaboration which has been driven by PCCs in particular.

The report says: “The PCC for Northamptonshire has been the most high-profile advocate of ‘taking over’ the running of the service.”

Last year, home secretary Theresa May praised Mr Simmonds’ plans for further integration between the services, saying: “This is exactly the sort of innovation I want the Government not just to applaud but take firm action across the whole country to help deliver.”

But the FBU report adds: “The FBU is fundamentally opposed to police and crime commissioners taking over the governance of local fire and rescue services. PCCs have no democratic mandate to administer the fire and rescue service,

nor the expertise or resources to improve our service.”