Plans for police chief to lead fire services fail to impress union chairman

Norfolk fire service are facing heavy budget cuts. Picture: Norfolk Fire Service/Brian Walshe

Norfolk fire service are facing heavy budget cuts. Picture: Norfolk Fire Service/Brian Walshe - Credit: Norfolk Fire Service/Brian Walsh

Government proposals to put Police and Crime Commissioners in charge of local fire services have been branded 'wishy-washy' and 'pointless' by the chairman of the Norfolk branch of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Norfolk FBU chairman Pete Greeves, said the system by which police, fire, and ambulance services co-operate is working well as it is.

The Government's announcement came two days after Norfolk County Council revealed plans to close between two and 11 fire stations in Norfolk in an attempt to cut a £111m funding gap over the next three years.

The EDP has pledged to fight the station closure proposals and the 'Save Our Stations' campaign is battling to fight for the safety of our communities.

Launching a public consultation, home secretary Theresa May said Police and Crime Commissioners could bring greater local accountability to fire services because they are elected by the public.

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She said: 'We want to ensure that the public has a real say in the way that emergency services are delivered in their area.

'Directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners can provide this, with their clear local accountability and strong incentive to pursue ambitious reform to improve local services and deliver value for money.'

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But Mr Greeves was not impressed by the plans.

He said: 'I'm not sure the police commissioners would properly understand how the fire service works.

'I would rather the authorities spent their time and money helping local fire stations.

'We work with the police and ambulance services at emergency rescue scenes and the higher echelons of the agencies are always talking to each other.

'We can improve our work together but we don't need this.'

Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner is Stephen Bett, a former Conservative councillor.

The consultation ends on October 23.

What do you think of the Government's proposal?

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