York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire PCC: Fire service decision 'delayed' - not halted

Fire engine and police car Image copyright North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Image caption The move would see the county's Police and Crime Commissioner make decisions for both North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and North Yorkshire Police

North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has rubbished claims her bid to take responsibility for the county's fire service has been halted.

It comes after the Home Office gave the green light to three other commissioners on Monday.

Julia Mulligan said her application was submitted after the others and it was likely it had been delayed.

But opponents claimed it was a sign her plans could be thrown out altogether.

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The Home Office announced the PCCs for West Mercia, Staffordshire and Cambridgeshire would take on responsibility for local fire and rescue services, becoming police, fire and crime commissioners for their respective areas.

However, Ms Mulligan said the failure of the Home Office to approve her plans was not final - and was simply a sign that a decision had not been made.

"The independent assessment of my proposals arrived with the Home Office at least two weeks after the others, and so it is understandable those making decisions need more time to give my business case full consideration," she said.

She said she may have to wait until after local elections in May for a final decision.

Image caption Julia Mulligan said her application was made after the others and it was likely it had been delayed

In response, York councillor Ashley Mason, who sits on the police and crime panel, said that with strong opposition to Ms Mulligan's plans from councillors, the delay was actually a sign that her proposals could be thrown out altogether.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 gives PCCs the power to take control of fire services in their area.

Ms Mulligan claims her proposals, which followed a consultation, would be easy to implement, would save about £6.6m over 10 years and public safety would be "likely to improve significantly".

In August, North Yorkshire County Council's executive recommended she be given a role on the fire service authority, but it did not support a complete takeover.

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