England

West Mercia PCC 'will save £4m' overseeing fire services

John Campion
Image caption John Campion was elected as West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner in May last year

West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner says he wants to take control of fire services in his area.

Announcing a three-month consultation, John Campion said the move could save £4m a year.

The services are currently overseen by bodies made up of local councillors.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the plans were "dangerous" when first proposed by government in 2015. Mr Campion said it would help collaboration between police and fire.

The Home Office took control of fire and rescue policy in 2016, with the the green light subsequently given for PCCs to govern fire and rescue services.

'Aspirational figure'

Mr Campion said if he was at the head of services in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, it would mean the "best use" of public money, better information sharing, while delivering "significant back-office efficiencies".

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West Mercia Police and the two fire and rescue services would continue to operate as individual organisations.

Councillor Stuart West, former chairman of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Authority said he found a savings figure of £4m a "little bit woolly".

"It's an aspirational figure," he said.

"When we've been working with the consultants, we've been trying to fathom out where this £4m is coming from and it's a little bit woolly.

"I don't know how that figure was actually reached."

The consultation on the plans will run until mid September.

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