Legal challenges to PCCs fire takeover plans dismissed

Fire engine Image copyright PA
Image caption The decision for Police and Crime Commissioners to take over the fire services was announced in March 2018

Legal challenges against decisions to transfer control of fire services to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have been thrown out.

Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire and Rescue Authorities were all seeking judicial review of the ruling by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

But on Monday, all three cases were dismissed by the High Court.

The PCCs involved said they welcomed the decision.

West Mercia PCC John Campion, who covers both the Shropshire and Hereford and Worcester services, has proposed a plan which he said would save £4m a year.

But both fire authorities said they did not believe it would improve their services.

Following the decision, Mr Campion said: "The significant cost the fire authorities have incurred and the delay orchestrated have done nothing to help our police and fire services, nor the communities of West Mercia.

"I hope the government will now progress joint governance without delay that will focus on delivering the best possible services to our communities."

Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of Shropshire Fire Authority, said he believed there was a "public interest" in keeping the service's governance as it is.

"We do believe the business case is flawed and will look to prove that going forward," he said.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority chairman, Councillor Roger Phillips, said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and would be applying for leave to appeal.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough PCC, Jason Ablewhite, welcomed the decision but said it would not be appropriate to comment further.

Its fire authority chairman, Councillor Kevin Reynolds, said they were now seeking legal advice on whether to pursue a second judicial review or to look at other options.

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