Could Essex soon have a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner?

Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst has spoken about what the changes mean

Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst has spoken about what the changes mean

People in Essex are being urged to have their say about changes to the way the county’s police, fire and rescue services are governed.

A 12-week public consultation has launched after laws were passed in January to allow local fire and rescue governance to be brought under the authority of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Essex PCC Roger Hirst said: “We aren’t doing this to save money but any money that is saved will be reinvested into working with the community.

“You won’t be seeing police officers trying to do fire officers jobs. This is not a merger.”

Changes should see both organisations work better with volunteers and provide better service to the public by operating a joint emergency control room.

The idea behind the proposed changes is to make better use of back office services, share knowledge, make better use of estates and help protect vulnerable people in joined-up ways.

The public will have three options to voice their opinion over.

  • The first option is the PCC becomes the 26th voting member of the Essex Fire Authority and continues to govern Essex Police.
  • The second option is the PCC taking on the role of the Essex Fire Authority, becoming Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. The Commisioner would govern both fire and rescue and police services, while each organisation would retain its separate Chief Officers.
  • The third option is the PCC taking on the role of the Essex Fire Authority, becoming Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner – but a single Chief Officer is appointed and leads both services.

Hirst said: “We are recommending option two and prefer it. We should see a better response with reporting non-emergency incidents, as well as a better co-ordinated response.

“The key thing is re-investing any money saved into working with our community. We want to see better working with schools and better work with volunteers.

“Emergency services have a duty under the law to take on collaboration opportunities where it would be in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness to do so.”

To give your views visit www.essex.pcc.police.uk/LocalCaseForChange or contact the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner by emailing pcc@essex.pnn.police.uk