Norfolk’s chief constable has his say on proposals to pass control of fire service to PCC

PUBLISHED: 15:15 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 30 August 2018

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk’s chief constable has insisted proposals to pass control of Norfolk’s fire service to the county’s police and crime commissioner could offer both organisations “greater opportunities”.

Speaking for the first time about the proposals - which could see the fire service overseen by PCC Lorne Green rather than the county council’s communities committee - Simon Bailey said: “A compelling business case for fire governance has been made by the PCC, which contains a series of proposals ultimately seeking to improve the service and save money.

“There is natural affinity between the police and the fire service and we already enjoy a strong collaboration. However, this has been years and years in the making and continues to be problematic. I strongly believe a more efficient and effective service could be delivered through a single governance structure.”

Norfolk County Council has not commented on Mr Bailey’s comments but sources said there is “very real surprise at the chief constable’s political intervention.”

Mr Bailey said he had decided to speak out about on the issue following “misinformation” about the proposals.

He said: “What has become unacceptable during this debate is the increasing amount of misinformation being shared about the Constabulary and what feels to be personal attacks upon the PCC.

“It was my decision to increase police officer numbers by withdrawing the PCSO role and suggestions we are no longer attending burglaries is simply not true. It is with a degree of frustration I should have to address commentary of this nature, when the real focus for discussion is governance of the fire service.

“Also, it is misleading to suggest the public would be put at risk by these proposals; the Chief Fire Officer would retain operational independence and be responsible for delivering a safe service, as I am with policing.”

Mr Bailey urged members of the public to read the proposals being consulted on, at as part of a consultation which ends next Wednesday.

Norfolk’s PCC is seeking the public’s views after an independent draft business case showed £10m could be saved in a decade if the service was under his control. But the communities committee, which wants the service to remain in County Hall’s hands, describes reference to the £10m saving as “speculative and misleading”.

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