Essex

Essex crime commissioner takes over fire service

Police and fire commissioner
Image caption Essex Chief Constable Steve Kavanagh, Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst, police and fire minister Nick Hurd and Adam Eckley of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Essex's police and crime commissioner is to take on responsibility for the county's fire and rescue service too.

Roger Hirst is to become the UK's first combined police and fire commissioner in October.

He proposed the step to the Home Office following a public consultation and endorsement from all three local authorities in the county.

The government hopes the changes will result in better collaboration between the police and fire service.

Police and crime commissioners in other areas have said they were considering the idea of taking responsibility for their local fire services.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the plans were "dangerous" , when first proposed by government in 2015.

Policing and Fire Service Minister Nick Hurd met Mr Hirst on Tuesday and said: "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, boost local resilience and improve the services delivered to the public."

The move will include the sharing of administrative functions and premises, though no details were given about any job losses in the services.

Mr Hirst will not be getting an increased salary for his new role.

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 then be reinvested back into front line services."

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