Police boss calls for merged Thames Valley fire service
Merging Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service with others in the Thames Valley would be ‘far more efficient’ and ‘totally logical’, the police commissioner of the area has claimed.
Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire fire services should combine to form one Thames Valley Fire Service, just like the police force.
If the fire services merged, it is thought the PCC could control and take over governance of one single fire authority, which has happened in other areas of the country.
Mr Stansfeld said: “It’s clear that the Government wish this to go ahead. It’s more complicated in the Thames Valley than most areas as we have three separate fire services. Two run by fire authorities and one in Oxfordshire, run by the county council.
“I would like to see the three fire services voluntarily bring themselves together. At that stage we can look at a common and central governance of the police and fire service.
“Having one Thames Valley Fire service is far more efficient. We are looking at it.
“There are clear operational advantages to both the fire service and the police by having increased integration.”
The Government has said further collaboration between police forces and fire services present ‘a real opportunity to increase their efficiency and effectiveness’.
“It is totally logical that the three Fire and Rescue Services of the Thames Valley should be combined. Why should we have one Police Service and three Fire and Rescue Services in the one area. It would be more efficient operationally and save money if they could voluntarily come together.
“Thames Valley Police is already entering a number of cooperative arrangements with the Fire and Rescue Services and this integration of services and facilities will continue into the future. Whether governance of a single Fire and Rescue Service and the Thames Valley Police will happen remains to be seen”.