A Tory MP has hit out against plans to “merge” police and fire services in Northamptonshire, saying he fears police commissioner Adam Simmonds wants to “take over the world”.
Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, today broke ranks with his party to express his concern at yesterday’s announcement, which could lead to the establishment of a single Northamptonshire emergency service.
Speaking to the Chron this afternoon, he said it seemed the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner wants to become “Tsar of Northamptonshire”.
Mr Binley: “I’m really very unhappy with the announcement. Mr Simmonds has a serious amount of work to do to make sure the culture and operational values of Northamptonshire Police are changed for the good.
“That’s a pretty full-time job. But it now basically looks like he wants to take over the world and become the Tsar of Northamptonshire.”
He added: “As I understand it, these proposals have not been discussed to any sensible degree at the higher echelons of political control at County Hall.
“My advice to Mr Simmonds is concentrate on providing a better police force, which means cutting crime and think about the longer term objectives after you’ve got your feet under the table.
“And as a long-time businessman, my advice is, before you shout your mouth off too much, take the trouble to understand what the problems are.
“He certainly wasn’t elected to be involved with the fire service and maybe other services too.”
An announcement, made yesterday, revealed plans for police and fire services in Northamptonshire to work much more closely together.
Mr Simmonds, together with Northamptonshire County Council Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage (Con, East Hunsbury), then said they hoped to push through a full merger.
The plans could see police and fire services combined to share a single operational command structure and headquarters, potentially in Northampton town centre.
The Chron also understands the three most senior fire officers in Northamptonshire will shortly move to police HQ at Wootton Hall as a first step towards the move.
Speaking to the Chron yesterday, Mr Simmonds said he felt moving the two forces closer together was a “no brainer”.
He said: “What I want to make sure, on an operational level, is that the two chiefs are working hand in hand and can sit in a room together.”
He added: “I can understand why some people might be nervous about this but actually I think the public wants a blue light service working together.”