Battle for control of Norfolk’s fire service continues as county council publishes its case
PUBLISHED: 20:05 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 06:39 18 July 2018
The battle for who should control Norfolk’s Fire and Rescue Service is hotting up, after the county council published its case for why it should not be taken over by the police and crime commissioner.
Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council is at loggerheads with Norfolk’s Conservative police and crime commissioner over the future of the fire service.
Last week, Police and crime commissioner Lorne Green said a business case into the future of the county’s fire service had convinced him of the merits which would come from him taking over.
That triggered the start of public consultation over the service’s future.
Mr Green said the independent draft business case showed £10m could be saved in 10 years if the service was under his control, with more efficient services and better joint working with police.
He said that, while fire and police stations could be rationalised on single sites, none would disappear completely and no jobs would be lost.
He also outlined how savings could be made by having smaller fire engines and said being under his control would bring more accountability.
But the county council has responded with its own case, in which they counter some of Mr Green’s claims.
Margaret Dewsbury, chair of the communities committee at Norfolk County Council, said: “Having considered the PCC’s business case, we are strongly of the view that Norfolk Fire and Rescue service should continue to be run by Norfolk County Council.
“The risks far outweigh any potential operational or financial benefits.
“So much more would be gained by working together better. I’d like to encourage the people of Norfolk to take the time to consider the business case and respond to the public consultation.”
The county council case, called Norfolk Fire and Rescue - Keep In Safe Hands, says the service has been protected from the brunt of budget cuts under their control.
They say all 42 stations would be protected, and say the PCC business case seemed to suggest there would be one fewer.
They say savings can be made by collaboration with police, without need for a takeover.
They also say the PCC’s £10m figure includes savings that are already planned and would be delivered regardless of who was running the service.
And they estimate the cost of the change would be £1m, also questioning other financial assumptions the PCC case made, such as levels of government funding.
People can have their say during the eight week consultation at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NorfolkPCC-Case-for-Change
People can also call 01953 424455, email to TellLorne@norfolk.pnn.police.uk or letter addressed to PCC Lorne Green, OPCCN, Building 8, Jubilee House, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 0WW.