Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority respond to re-election of Police and Crime Commissioner

Following the re-election of Jon Campion as West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chair of Shropshire & Wrekin Fire Authority’s Councillor Eric Carter, said; “As a Fire Authority we congratulate Mr Campion on his re-election and hope it means West Mercia Police and Shropshire Fire and Rescue will be able to continue with the excellent collaboration we already enjoy.

“The Services already work closely together sharing premises, sharing vehicle maintenance, working together to find missing persons and making entry into people’s homes when they are in danger – not to mention all the day to day work we do together in dealing with fires, road crashes and a whole range of other emergencies. 

“These collaborations actually cost the Fire and Rescue Service money, but we believe they are the right thing to do because they make the public safer.

“What is disappointing is that Mr Campion seems intent on reheating his ideas of a forced takeover of our Fire Services, still relying on discredited and unreliable claims of huge savings without listening to common sense and the will of our communities in Shropshire.

“As far as we can see the only way of making savings of £4m a year is by stripping out vital support functions from the Fire Services and giving them to the police.

“Many will recall the original business plan outlined saving money by merging control rooms when the lessons from recent years tell us that this core, lifesaving function needs investment not reduction.

“The Fire Authority is aware that the Government are planning to publish a white paper before the summer that sets out plans for reform of the PCC role and function.

“We are hoping these proposals include strengthening the role of the Police and Crime panel; giving it more power to scrutinise and properly hold the PCCs to account.

“We also anticipate the White Paper will explore the potential for a nationwide transfer of the governance of Fire and Rescue Services from boards of locally elected councillors to PCCs and elected mayors.

“With this in mind, the Fire Authority feel it would only be appropriate to make a further statement once the paper is publicly available and its contents have been carefully considered.

“As an authority, we still believe Fire and Rescue Services are best governed by diverse groups of people, who are closely linked to and reflect their communities.

“The people of Shropshire can rest assured that at all times we will do what we can to put their safety first and make Shropshire safer”

14th May, 2021