Minister in meeting to discuss future of emergency services

(L-R) Chris Strickland, chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Sir Peter Bro

(L-R) Chris Strickland, chief fire officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Sir Peter Brown, chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, Brandon Lewis, Policing and Fire Minister, Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire, and Alec Wood, the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Brandon Lewis, visited police headquarters in Huntingdon on Friday to meet police and fire chiefs.

Mr Lewis was in the county to discuss the potential for joint working between the county’s police and fire services with the police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, alongside the chief fire officer, Chris Strickland, Fire Authority chairman, Sir Peter Brown, and Chief Constable Alec Wood.

The government is proposing to enable police and crime commissioners to take responsibility for their local fire and rescue services, where the case has been locally that such an arrangement could work.

It forms part of a raft of changes the government hopes will bring about closer working between the police, fire and rescue and NHS ambulance services to improve the way they serve communities and provide value for money for taxpayers.

Mr Ablewhite said: “Cambridgeshire police and fire services already work closely together. I believe the new legislation will open the door to better ways of working and I have asked the Fire Authority to produce a business case to identify the best way forward.”

Sir Peter added: “The minister’s interest in what we are doing in Cambridgeshire is welcomed. We are proactive in working with others where it makes sense to do so from an economic or service improvement point of view.

“We currently have a fire service that offers excellent value for money and we continually look to improve and be even better. Collaborating further or integrating parts of the service with other emergency services will enable us to achieve further improvement and I look forward to continuing discussions with the police and crime commissioner about opportunities to do this.”

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Mr Lewis added: “It has been a pleasure to visit the police and fire services in Cambridgeshire to hear about the important emergency services collaboration work taking place. Collaboration is key to enabling the emergency services to deliver value for money and better protect the public and it is great to see Cambridgeshire driving this forward.”