Give my role more powers, says Norfolk Police & Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett

PUBLISHED: 07:47 24 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:00 24 March 2016

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett in the control room at Wymondham HQ. Photo: Bill Smith

Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett in the control room at Wymondham HQ. Photo: Bill Smith

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Responsibility for fire services, criminal justice and trading standards should be handed over to elected police and crime commissioners, Norfolk’s existing crime tsar has said.

Stephen Bett said new responsibilities should be formally handed over to the figurehead who would be put in charge of the whole of public protection.

The Home Office has taken control of fire and rescue policy and home secretary Theresa May has indicated she would like to see police and crime commissioners take on more responsibility.

Mr Bett said he would like the police and crime commissioner’s role to go beyond informal mergers such as the combining of the call handling for police and fire services across Norfolk in Wymondham. Norfolk County Council is currently responsible for fire and rescue services.

“I think the one thing it hasn’t got at the moment is accountability. It is in a mass of other departments at the county council. I think the role coming out of this is the PCC is going to be for public protection –trading standards, public health and the blue light services.”

His intervention comes amid plans for an elected mayor responsible for economic growth, transport and housing in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Mr Bett said while he supported devolution locally, law and order and criminal justice should have an accountable person in each county, and not somebody running the whole of the three counties. He said expanding the role would increase its profile.

He said the services would not be merged, but there would be one manager and each area would have its own head.

“You wouldn’t have a takeover of all departments – fire going into police, or anything else. You keep them separate, but they would be all- encompassing, one person running the heads of departments.”

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