Essex to become the first county to appoint a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Roger Hirst will become the country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in October

Essex will become the first county in the country to appoint a joint Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

It was announced today (July 25) at the Essex Fire and Rescue Headquarters in Kelvedon that Roger Hirst will add the responsibility of governing the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to his role as Police Crime Commissioner in October.

It is marked as the first step in the Government’s drive to see police and fire collaborate for the benefit of local communities.

Mr Hirst said: “The people of Essex deserve to have the best possible emergency services.

“By bringing together the governance of Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, we can support closer working and make investment decisions that will bring even bigger benefits in the future.”

Essex Police Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh and Essex County Fire Chief Adam Eckley will continue in their roles as heads of both services.

It does not mean that both the fire and police will merge, and there is no inclination that there will be job losses, but both services will be working closer together to provide a better service in the community and potentially save money that will be thrown back into their budgets.

Mr Hirst predicted that this new method could save between £20m and £23m per year.

He said: “By ensuring a more joined-up response to incidents, providing crime and fire prevention advice, creating community safety hubs, and sharing buildings we can improve how we work and generate significant savings which can be reinvested back into front line services.

Mr Hirst’s salary will not increase as a result of his new position.

He said: “I’m not making any more money. I’m not in it for money or power. I’m in it for the benefit of the people of Essex.”

Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford, believes that this appointment will be a great benefit for the city’s population.

She said: “I’m pleased to see Essex taking the lead in delivering closer collaboration between police and fire services.

“This will enable greater investment in the front line and will deliver better protection for the people of Chelmsford.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and Fire commended Essex for becoming the first county to take on this new method of governing the police and fire services.

He said: “I want to congratulate Essex for its leadership.

“It’s great to see Essex taking the lead in this field and bringing forward a proposal which has support from local authorities across the county and from many of the public.

“I want to see our emergency services continue to drive closer collaboration to encourage joint working, the sharing of best practice and more innovative thinking.

“Having a directly accountable leader overseeing policing and fire will help both services enhance their effectiveness, maximise available resources, enhance local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to the local area.”