Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner has not heard from county council boss over fire service governance proposals

PUBLISHED: 16:34 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 22 January 2018

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

What do you think? That was the message from Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner to county council bosses a month after he wrote to them asking for their views on potentially transferring governance of the fire service.

An options appraisal over the future of the service had been commissioned by PCC Lorne Green following the introduction of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which included provision that enables PCCs to take responsibility for fire and rescue services.

Grant Thornton, authors of the report, concluded the “preferred option” would be to transfer the fire service from the county council into the governance of the PCC.

It concludes benefits include the creation of a precept to secure funding for the fire service, faster development in terms of collaboration due to streamlined leadership, better interoperability and integration of services.

The county council’s communities committee has unanimously rejected such a move but Mr Green said he has still not heard from council leader Cliff Jordan despite writing to him on December 22.

Mr Jordan has previously said there is “no compelling case to change” but speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) to discuss the report, Mr Green said: “I’ve heard reports of a committee but haven’t had a formal response from the leader of the county council.”

Once he gets a response, Mr Green said he would write to the district and borough councils and give them two weeks to respond before deciding whether or not to proceed to a full business case for the preferred option, which would include a public consultation.

Speaking today, Mr Green said: “I think we have a good fire service now, I know we have an excellent police service now. The issue here is can things be even safer for the people of this county and also can we be even more cost effective in the way we deliver services.”

Other options include continue with the fire service as part of the county council; continue with the fire service as part of the county council but give the PCC a position on the committee, or move the fire service under the control of PCC by creating one organisation that includes both police and fire under command of a new chief officer.

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