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Commissioner set to be quizzed on police and fire merger plans

L to R: Chief fire officer Martyn Emberson, NCC cabinet member for public protection and fire Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds, Chief Constable Adrian Lee

L to R: Chief fire officer Martyn Emberson, NCC cabinet member for public protection and fire Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds, Chief Constable Adrian Lee

Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds is to be quizzed this week on plans to “merge” police and fire services in Northamptonshire.

Mr Simmonds is due to appear before the county’s Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday afternoon, when he is due to be questioned about the controversial proposal.

His plan has divided sections of the local Conservative party, with MP for Northampton South Brian Binley saying he fears Mr Simmonds “wants to take over the world”.

Mr Simmonds said the Government was looking at allowing police and fire mergers, which are not permitted at the moment, and said he believed police commissioners could be put in charge of both emergency services.

In a report, to be discussed this week, Mr Simmonds said “wide-ranging” discussions were continuing about the plans.

He said: “Both Northamptonshire Police and the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue service already work closely in partnership across a number of areas including incident response, training and campaigns to improve resilience and community safety in the county.

“By strengthening this relationship, both emergency services can work together to explore new opportunities to provide greater emergency and community services, whilst also ensuring the best value for money for the residents of Northamptonshire.

“Although current legislation will not permit a complete merger of blue light services, there are a number of advantages of establishing a closer working relationship and sharing resources where necessary.

“To date, there has already been a considerable amount of work to establish how this far reaching and unique proposal can deliver real benefits and efficiencies.

“I am continuing to have serious and wide-ranging discussions with the Chief Constable, Chief Fire Officer and the Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council to further develop and refine our proposed vision of working in a more joined up manner.

“I will of course keep the Police and Crime Panel up to date with any developments, as and when they arise.”

 

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