Fire service future: Norfolk police and crime commissioner to take ‘required time’ to consider next move

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green. Picture : ANTONY KELLY.

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green. Picture : ANTONY KELLY. - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner has said he will take his time to analyse the 'huge response' from the public to his consultation over a possible takeover of the county's fire service.

Conservative police and crime commissioner Lorne Green began consultation over the fire service's future in July. It came to an end yesterday.

Norfolk County Council currently runs the fire service, but the Conservative government last year paved the way for police and crime commissioners to take control.

Mr Green said an independent draft business case had shown £10m could be saved in a decade if the service was under his control, with more efficient services and better joint working.

That has put him at odds with the Tory-run county council, which last week unanimously agreed to submit their response to the consultation, urging that the service remains in County Hall's hands.

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The £10m saving is described in the council's formal consultation response as 'speculative and misleading'.

Now that the public consultation has closed, Mr Green said: 'There has been a huge level of response from the Norfolk public, partners and stakeholders - far exceeding any consultation run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, or indeed many of our public sector partners, before.

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'At this stage, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to consider my proposal and submit their views.

'I believe that, as a public servant, I have a duty to explore every possibility to deliver public services in the most effective, most efficient and most economical way.

'There is a case for change where governance of our fire service is concerned. I chose to take that case to public consultation as I strongly believe it would enable us to do even more to protect the vulnerable and make our communities even safer.

'It was, however, really important to me that people had the opportunity to make up their own minds and share their views with me.

'Regarding next steps, my office, with the help of an independent panel, will now take the required time to thoroughly analyse the results and comments received. This will allow a full consultation response report to be compiled.

'Once that piece of work is completed, it will then be down to me to consider that report and all the feedback – which will, of course, be made public – before making a decision on how to proceed.'

Norfolk County Council has said savings can be made without the need for a takeover.

And Hertfordshire's police and crime commissioner David Lloyd this week announced he had 'suspended' his bid to take over the fire service in that county.

An agreement has instead been reached for more collaboration with the county council there.

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