Police commissioner submits plans to govern Northamptonshire’s fire service

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Northamptonshire’s police and crime commissioner has submitted plans to run the county’s fire service to the Home Office after a “successful consultation.”

If accepted, Stephen Mold will become Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner.

The announcement follows an eight week public consultation in which 1,212 people shared their views on the proposed change.

The consultation sought opinions from people from across the county, including fire service employees, police personnel, and staff from Northamptonshire County Council.

The results showed that 60.8 percent agreed with the proposal for the commissioner to govern the fire service, 31.7 percent disagreed and 7.5 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

A spokesman for Mr Mold said fire service employees were “significantly in favour” of the change.

The governance role is not operational, and the day to day running of the fire and rescue service remains with the Chief Fire Officer

Stephen Mold

The commissioner added: “I am very happy with the outcome of the consultation. I’m confident this proposed change in governance is in the best interests of everyone in Northamptonshire.

“I’m particularly pleased that people working for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue service can see the benefits of the transfer, with 92 percent of respondents wanting to see the change occur.

“The governance role is not operational, and the day to day running of the fire and rescue service remains with the chief fire officer.”

If the Home Office accepts the business case the change of governance would come in to effect from April 2018. The proposal follows recent changes in legislation as part of the government’s desire to create more collaboration between emergency services at local levels.

Under the new proposals, Mr Mold claims both organisations would remain separate and keep their separate uniforms - though a recently rolled out T-shirt to be used by county firefighters was criticised for carrying an embroidered “police” tag.

The fire service is currently funded through Northamptonshire County Council’s budget. Under the new proposals the budget would be ring-fenced and collected as part of each household’s council tax, in line with current arrangements.

However, the fire and rescue service precept would be shown separately from the total council tax – as the police precept currently is.

The police, fire and crime commissioner would then allocate a budget to the chief fire officer to run the organisation, as he currently does for the Police and chief constable.

Chief fire officer Darren Dovey, said: “I am pleased that both the public and our staff have had the opportunity to comment on these proposals. We are now hoping for a speedy decision by the Home Office so that our staff have some certainty and we can start to plan for the future.”